A Letter to Mitt Romney

…that he might consider answering:

The First Four Years Are The Hardest…

Dear Governor Romney,
My name is Mike Rowe and I own a small company in California called mikeroweWORKS. Currently, mikeroweWORKS is trying to close the country’s skills gap by changing the way Americans feel about Work. (I know, right? Ambitious.) Anyway, this Labor Day is our 4th anniversary, and I’m commemorating the occasion with an open letter to you. If you read the whole thing, I’ll vote for you in November.

First things first. mikeroweWORKS grew out of a TV show called Dirty Jobs. If by some chance you are not glued to The Discovery Channel every Wednesday at 10pm, allow me to visually introduce myself. That’s me on the right, preparing to do something dirty.

When Dirty Jobs premiered back in 2003, critics called the show “a calamity of exploding toilets and misadventures in animal husbandry.” They weren’t exactly wrong. But mostly, Dirty Jobs was an unscripted celebration of hard work and skilled labor. It still is. Every week, we highlight regular people who do the kind of jobs most people go out of their way to avoid. My role on the show is that of a “perpetual apprentice.” In that capacity I have completed over three hundred different jobs, visited all fifty states, and worked in every major industry.

Though schizophrenic and void of any actual qualifications, my resume looks pretty impressive, and when our economy officially crapped the bed in 2008, I was perfectly positioned to weigh in on a variety of serious topics. A reporter from The Wall Street Journal called to ask what I thought about the “counter-intuitive correlation between rising unemployment and the growing shortage of skilled labor.” CNBC wanted my take on outsourcing. Fox News wanted my opinions on manufacturing and infrastructure. And CNN wanted to chat about currency valuations, free trade, and just about every other work-related problem under the sun.

In each case, I shared my theory that most of these “problems” were in fact symptoms of something more fundamental – a change in the way Americans viewed hard work and skilled labor. That’s the essence of what I’ve heard from the hundreds of men and women I’ve worked with on Dirty Jobs. Pig farmers, electricians, plumbers, bridge painters, jam makers, blacksmiths, brewers, coal miners, carpenters, crab fisherman, oil drillers…they all tell me the same thing over and over, again and again – our country has become emotionally disconnected from an essential part of our workforce. We are no longer impressed with cheap electricity, paved roads, and indoor plumbing. We take our infrastructure for granted, and the people who build it…

It’s a good letter and goes on to, as Mike tends to do being an well-spoken guy, make some hard-to-argue points.

And finishes with one not-so-shocking note:

…PS. In the interest of full disclosure I should mention that I wrote a similar letter to President Obama. Of course, that was four years ago, and since I never heard back, I believe proper etiquette allows me to extend the same offer to you now. I figure if I post it here, the odds are better that someone you know might send it along to your attention.

You “never heard back“. See, Mike, the problem is, you were talking about Average Joe guys like…plumbers.

And we all know how Obama feels about guys like Joe the Plumber.

8 Responses to “A Letter to Mitt Romney”

  1. AliceH says:

    W00T1!!! Just saw this on twitter:

    Ben Domenech ?@bdomenech

    So in case you missed it, @MittRomney campaign has officially reached out to Mike Rowe re: this. http://vlt.tc/gd9

  2. tree hugging sister says:

    Just SAW it! WOOT! WOOT! GENIUS, I tell you!

  3. AliceH says:

    THS gets results!!

    Any details on this? I mean, something other than domenech saying Romney campaign reached out? I don’t see any updates at Rowe’s blog.

  4. AliceH says:

    At 5:13 et:

    Ted Newton ?@Ted_Newton

    .@bdomenech Ben, the campaign has officially reached out to Mike Rowe, & we look forward to hearing back about this worthy cause.

    Ted Newton’s twitter bio says: “President, Gravity Strategic Communications. Senior communications adviser to Romney campaign.”

  5. tree hugging sister says:

    All I know is that the guy who tweeted back to Ben is Ted Martin and he’s a Senior communications adviser to Romney campaign. So, if he says Mitt knows, I’d take it that he’s up to speed and something should come out of it. So I followed BOTH of them, just to make sure I hear when it does. 😛

    How COOL!!

  6. tree hugging sister says:


  7. AliceH says:

    Also, follow @mikeroweworks

    He’s no tweeting-maniac (~3 tweets/month), but surely he’d give some kind of update on twitter, right?

  8. nightfly says:

    He doesn’t tweet a lot, I suspect, because he’s busy doing actual work. Gotta love Mike Rowe.

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