Senator Cornyn

Cornyn Remembers Former Senator Mike Enzi

July 27, 2021

WASHINGTON – Today on the floor, U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) honored the life and legacy of former Senator Mike Enzi after his untimely passing. Sen. Cornyn’s full remarks are below, and video can be found here

“Mr. President, I rise to speak about the life and legacy of our friend, Mike Enzi, and his sudden loss.”

“I saw Mike via Zoom just last week at the Senate Prayer Breakfast. Mike got up a little earlier than the rest of us to be able to join us over the internet from Wyoming. But he liked participating in the prayer breakfast and as we were reminded by some of our colleagues – I think Senator Lankford may have mentioned it – Mike could always be depended on as somebody who was a last-minute cancellation, which happened from time to time.”

“Of course, it had only been a matter of a few months since Mike had retired, marking the conclusion of a storied career in public service. Mike literally did it all. He served in the military and at every level of government, from the mayor’s office in Gillette, to the state legislature, to here in the United States Senate. And he always put the people of Wyoming first.” 

“Mike was pretty unique in this place because he never sought the spotlight. In many ways, it seemed like he was allergic to getting any sort of attention from the press or otherwise. Whether he was in the midst of a high-pressure negotiation or celebrating a big legislative victory, Mike did not run to the TV cameras or reporters in the hallways. He preferred to work quietly behind the scenes, effectively, resolving differences in a quiet, thoughtful way. And once he succeeded, he didn’t claim the credit for himself. He claimed credit for others.” 

“During Mike’s 24 years in the Senate, he certainly had a lot of successes to celebrate, and he let me in on his winning formula not long after I got here. At the time, he and the Liberal Lion of the Senate, Teddy Kennedy, were Chairman and Ranking Member of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee. I think they may have swapped out as majorities changed. One became Chairman, the other became Ranking Member.” 

“But I asked him how Mike, the staunch western conservative that he was, could work so productively with somebody who shared very different views, and he told me it’s easy. It’s the 80/20 rule. You’re not going to agree or disagree with 100% of what someone has to say, but if you focus on the 20%, or that that you will never agree on, you overlook the 80% that you can agree on.” 

“Well, as simple as it may sound, it is a winning formula for success here in the Senate, and more of us should practice the 80/20 rule. At a time when more attention is paid to what divides us than what unites us, I hope the legacy of Mike Enzi and the 80/20 rule will remain a constant in the Senate.”

“As we honor the life and legacy of our good friend, Mike Enzi, there’s another favorite saying of his that has been on my mind. He used to say, “you have to have an attitude of gratitude.” 

“Well, Mike was always grateful. Grateful to God, grateful to live in this great country, grateful to the people of Wyoming for the opportunity to serve them, and of course grateful for his wonderful family and their endless love and support.” 

“Sandy and I send our condolences to Mike’s wife, Diana, their children, their grandchildren, and the entire Enzi clan. We are grateful to them that they shared their beloved patriarch with us for so many years.”