GILLETTE, Wyo. – Wyoming Republican Mike Enzi announced on Saturday that he is retiring from the Senate and will not be seeking a fifth term next year. Enzi, who currently serves as the chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, has been in office since January 1997, replacing former Republican Sen. Al Simpson.
“During my life, I’ve followed my Mom’s advice, my core values: Do what’s right. Do your best. Treat others as they want to be treated. I can’t do the kind of job Diana and I have been doing for another six-year term. I was able to see my kids grow up before I went in the Senate. Now I want some grandkid time. I will continue to be the Workhorse for Wyoming that you expect me to be through this term,” the 75-year-old announced on Saturday in his hometown of Gillette.
Before coming to Washington, Enzi served two terms as Mayor of Gillette from 1975 to 1982.
In his speech, Enzi reflected on his tenure in politics, saying he enjoyed being a senator because he was able to solve “federal problems for Wyoming people.”
“I like doing legislation. I’ve developed a pathway that brings people together. I’ve gotten to work with an incredible staff that has made it possible to do more than a Senator by himself could do,” Enzi said.
Enzi added that while he has “much to get done in the next year and a half” he didn’t want to be “burdened with the distractions of a campaign.” While he didn’t indicate what his future plans hold, Enzi said after the current term, he plans to “find other ways to serve.”
With Enzi’s retirement, Wyoming will have its first open Senate seat in more than a decade. The seat is expected to remain in Republican hands.
Enzi’s departure could open the way for Republican Rep. Liz Cheney, daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney.
Five years ago, she launched an ill-fated challenge against Enzi. She dropped out of the race before the primary. Still, she was elected to Congress in 2014 and was reelected last year. On Saturday, Enzi said he was leaving the Senate and House in “good hands” with Cheney in Congress and John Barrasso in the Senate.
“I can see a future when Representative Cheney will be the Speaker of the House and Senator Barrasso will be the Senate Majority Leader,” he predicted.