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The First Four Years Are The Hardest…

Dear Governor Romney,
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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.
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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.
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Though schizophrenic and void of any actual qualifications, my resume looks pretty impressive, and when our economy officially tanked 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.
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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.
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Today, we can see the consequences of this disconnect in any number of areas, but none is more obvious than the growing skills gap. Even as unemployment remains sky high, a whole category of vital occupations has fallen out of favor, and companies struggle to find workers with the necessary skills. The causes seem clear. We have embraced a ridiculously narrow view of education. Any kind of training or study that does not come with a four-year degree is now deemed “alternative.” Many viable careers once aspired to are now seen as “vocational consolation prizes,” and many of the jobs this current administration has tried to “create” over the last four years are the same jobs that parents and teachers actively discourage kids from pursuing. (I always thought there was something ill-fated about the promise of three million “shovel ready jobs” made to a society that no longer encourages people to pick up a shovel.)
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Which brings me to my purpose in writing. On Labor Day of 2008, the fans of Dirty Jobs helped me launch this website. mikeroweWORKS.com began as a Trade Resource Center designed to connect kids with careers in the skilled trades. It has since evolved into a non-profit foundation – a kind of PR Campaign for hard work and skilled labor.
Thanks to a number of strategic partnerships, I have been able to promote a dialogue around these issues with a bit more credibility than my previous resume allowed. I’ve spoken to Congress (twice) about the need to confront the underlying stigmas and stereotypes that surround these kinds of jobs. Alabama and Georgia have both used mikeroweWORKS to launch their own statewide technical recruitment campaigns, and I’m proud to be the spokesman for both initiatives. I also work closely with Caterpillar, Ford, Kimberly-Clark, and Master Lock, as well as The Boy Scouts of America and The Future Farmers of America. To date, the mikeroweWORKS Foundation has raised over a million dollars for trade scholarships. It’s modest by many standards, but I think we’re making a difference.
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Certainly, we need more jobs, and you were clear about that in Tampa. But the Skills Gap proves that we need something else too.  We need people who see opportunity where opportunity exists. We need enthusiasm for careers that have been overlooked and underappreciated by society at large. We need to have a really big national conversation about what we value in the workforce, and if I can be of help to you in that regard, I am at your service – assuming of course, you find yourself in a new address early next year.
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To be clear, mikeroweWORKS has no political agenda. I am not an apologist for Organized Labor or for Management. mikeroweWORKS is concerned only with encouraging a larger appreciation for skilled labor, and supporting those kids who are willing to learn a skill.
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Good luck in November. And thanks for your time.
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Sincerely,
Mike Rowe
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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.

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Admin note:  to make this easier to find, here’s a reprint of the letter to President Obama:

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30 January 2009
President Barack Obama
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington DC

“For everywhere we look, there is work to be done.”

Dear Mr. President,

Much of what you said on January 20th struck a chord, but nothing matched the simplicity or truth of that particular observation. I am awed by the task at hand, and compelled to tell you about mikeroweWORKS, a public awareness campaign designed to reinvigorate the trades, reinforce the importance of skilled labor, and draw attention to our crumbling infrastructure.

My name’s Mike Rowe, and I host a program on the Discovery Channel called Dirty Jobs. Dirty Jobs is a simple show about hard work. No plot, no script, and no actors. The show relies upon a mission – one that sends me around the country to work as an apprentice in a wide variety of occupations not typically associated with a four-year diploma. From coal mines to cattle ranches, crab boats to construction sites, I’ve spent the last five years laboring alongside men and women who do the kinds of jobs that make civilized life possible for the rest of us. Now, after 200 dirty jobs, I enjoy a national reputation as an expert in absolutely nothing. However, I have managed to succeed in highlighting an important group of hardworking Americans that I believe deserve our respect, and from whom I think

we might learn a thing or two about the meaning of a “good job.”

Forty years ago, people understood that sweat and dirt were the hallmarks of important work. Today, that understanding has faded. Somewhere in our economy’s massive transition from manufacturing to financial services, we have forsaken skilled labor, along with many aspects of our traditional work ethic. Trade school enrollments are down, even as our infrastructure crumbles around us. I don’t think that’s a coincidence. Community Colleges are routinely described as alternatives to a “proper” education. Madison Avenue bombards us with messages that equate happiness with leisure. Hollywood portrayals of hard work usually embody an element of drudgery or some silly stereotype, and jobs once considered vital to our society are now simply overlooked. The ranks of welders, carpenters, pipe fitters, and plumbers have been declining for years, and now, we face the bizarre reality of rising unemployment, and a shortage of skilled labor. Strange days.

Whether through elitism or indifference, the net result is the same – people have slowly shied away from these jobs. Not because they aren’t important or lucrative – but because they are simply not celebrated. This perception is real Mr. President, and I believe it’s standing squarely in the way of your recovery plan, as well as your initiative for Volunteerism and national service. In my opinion, it needs to be corrected as soon as possible, which brings me back to my idea.

mikeroweWORKS.com is a destination for anyone looking to investigate a career in the Skilled Trades. Its purpose is to encourage, educate, and celebrate the business of Work, by focusing on those opportunities related to rebuilding our national infrastructure. The idea grew from the mission of Dirty Jobs, and evolved with the help of loyal viewers who constantly provide the site with daily links to scholarships, apprenticeships, fellowships, and other worthwhile programs. Large corporations have offered support. Industry leaders, Retired Generals, teachers, laborers, professors, parents, and students have all gotten involved. My hope for mikeroweWORKS is that it function not just as a useful resource, but also as a “call to arms,” and ultimately, a PR Campaign for Skilled Labor. I would like to see mikeroweWORKS help assure that those three or four million jobs you wish to create, are jobs that people feel proud to have.

People often tell me that Dirty Jobs reminds them of a time when Work was not seen as a thing to avoid. When skilled tradesmen were seen as role models, and a paycheck was not the only benefit of a job well done. We need to recapture that sentiment. We need to celebrate, on a bigger scale, the role models right in front of us. Dirty Jobs has given me the opportunity to do that. With a little luck and the right support, mikeroweWORKS, will take it to the next level.

Thank you for your time, Mr. President. Good luck in your term, and please know that mikeroweWORKS and Dirty Jobs are at your disposal.

Sincerely,

Mike Rowe
CEO, mikeroweWORKS, inc.
Executive Producer, Dirty Jobs

  • carlene strange

    Thank you Mike Rowe. We reared our grandson from 6 months
    to adulthood. He chose not to return to college after
    freshman year. We were disappointed, but he dug in and
    worked as a ranch hand, kitchen help, etc. He got a job
    as plumber’s helper with local company. He has passed 3
    levels, testing and passing requirements for the next
    level. We have always been proud of him, but you have made
    us realize what a productive, happy life he can have
    without degrees… Thanks Mike.

  • Mitchell

    Mike Rowe for President!

    You really would be the perfect president. Common Sense to spare… something the American People haven’t seen in a long time, I’m afraid.

    No more politicians should hold any public office. We need smart, honest, hard-working patriots to revive the real meaning of the United States of America.

    Every ‘official’ should pay taxes, take pay cuts, get ‘Obamacare’, lose their jobs, and suffer consequences like the rest of us in this sinking boat.

    It’s easy to spend money when you don’t have to earn it yourself.

  • Dorothy K Carter

    Dear Mike,

    I enjoyed you on #MorningJoe Did you notice they were keying you up hoping you would knock Romney and praise Obama? Gov Romney is the real deal it’s not just a photo op when he stands at a plant or with coal miners. Do you follow Charlie Daniels crying for help for Coal Miners: My response Dorothy K Carter‏@Dcarter888K

    @CharlieDaniels How about teaming up with @MittRomney crying to congress is a waste of your breath. A Pres Romney has 8yr energy plan

    I hope U will follow up with @MittRomney & @PaulRyanVP they are down to earth and the real deal. They will keep Republic from going bankrupt and do have a plan to help people out of work with training.

    The Panel on Morning Joe were shocked when you told them Gov Romney wrote you back within 2 weeks. He’s that honorable. I hope you team up with him.

    Thank You!

  • Bob

    It is not only the skilled trades but whole industries are seen as beneath the new generation. I work in the steel industry as a supervisor and though we have thousands apply for hourly positions (who wouldn’t at $25.00/hour) we cannot find new young supervisors. It is nearly impossible to tempt a newly graduated engineer to work shifts in a place that is hot in the summer (120 degrees on the shop floor this summer), frigid in the winter, and dirty all the time. And they will start at pay rates 10-15% higher than a desk job. To find supervisors we have to go the older possibly laid off supervisors from other plants and/or industries. I have a degree and live a very upper middle-class lifestyle by working for a living. The young generation think work entails includes air conditioned office, a computer, and restaurants for lunch. It’s going to be very hard to change their mind!

    By the way, I had to be a carpenter, electrician, plumber, burner, “honey-dipper” or sewage removal expert, as well as others to support my family over the years. My brothers are much the same as was our father and his father. I love your show when I can watch but shift work doesn’t always allow for a scheduled social life. This site is impressive – keep up the good work.

    Bob

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  • Linda

    Hi Mike!

    I just want to say you’re right! As a teacher, I have seen the interest in skilled labor decline over the past 22 years. Some folks don’t see the jobs you highlight as an option, but see handouts from the government as ok.

    I firmly believe that each person has talents and interests that should be nurtured, even if they are not going to college and becoming the boss of a company. After all, we can’t all be the chief, right?

    Thanks for what you are doing forAmerica and it’s kids!

  • Shawn Pearsall

    Mike:

    Like many of those that leave comments I’m sure we all started working in our late single and early double digit age group. Shoveling snow, mowing lawns, delivering papers, baby sitting…anything to raise cash to buy that bicycle, bb-gun, 35mm camera, etc.

    Kid’s today are protected by law from working until they are 16. So from the ages of 12-16 they sit at home, play video games and veg. We’ve done this to ourselves. Now the labor department is focusing on those children living on farms. Cruel and unusual punishment is the phrase they pass around…

    Unless we allow our children to work at an earlier age, they will never learn the value of a dollar. Nor will they will ever respect how hard we need to work for what we have.

    Thank you for the effort you put into everything you touch. You’re an inspiration, and proof that one person can make a difference!

  • Ray

    Mike,

    I started working with a brick and block crew at 14 years old ( off school hours). Today, I manage 2 production facilities. Many of the folks I have coming through here (both young and old) are happy to work only 4 days a week…3 even better. It is unbelievable. There have been a few whom I would have loved to offer better opportunities, but they have no drive. Much of this I believe is due to entitlements. Subsidies given for those who don’t want to put in a full work week. Why do it when they don’t have to? Its sad. Keep up the great work. Surely, you are making a difference.

  • Richard Mayer

    In California Vocational Education was the real deal. Unfortunately it became less important when college prep courses became the only game in town. We have lost so many bright young people to boredom in school because they are hands-on learners and creators. The continuation high schools are full of these kids, until they leave with no outlet for learning a practical skill. In California we are overwhelmed with state mandated programs, federal mandated programs and guess what, they always say the money is coming. Well, I served on a school board for nine years and the money did not always come so it has to come from somewhere, the things that might inspire. Neither party has a lock on failure in this, they are in bed. Beware vouchers, corporate schools waiting to expand at the expense of the poor and uninformed.

  • Robert DeNoto

    Hi Mike,

    I am a fan of “Dirty Jobs” as well as a participant. As a 30 year journeyman wireman I understand and agree with the message of your letter. I am currently working as a membership development coordinator for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 86 in Rochester, NY. I work with the next generation of electrician every day explaining to them the value of learning a skilled trade. Although the numbers of applicants applying for the apprenticeship program are decreasing, there are still plenty of qualified applicants to choose from. I talk to kids in high schools and technical colleges about becoming a journeyman electrician. Our apprentices receive a complete education including photovoltaic and wind generation. Today’s youth are very different than a couple generations ago. I’ve taken several classes in how to communicate with the youth of today including the use of multi media. I applaud your show and the work you’re doing with the American worker. We both know how hard the work truly is and it’s about time someone shined a spotlight on American Labor giving them some recognition. It doesn’t matter union or non union; we’re all tradesmen trying to make a living to support our familes.

    I AM disappointed to hear your letter 4 years ago to President Obama went unanswered but I still absolutely believe the current administration has a better direction to bolster the American worker than the alternative. Keep up the great work you do and if the is anything I can do to help the cause please contact me.

  • Mike Beauchaine

    Mike, I am so impressed with your letter. You are spot on!

    I work on cars in my own business and see so many people who know nothing about their cars and don’t want to learn.

    They couldn’t repair a sprinkler on their lawn and don’t want to learn. Or change out a leaky tap or fix a broken side walk with new cement. And don’t want to learn.

    I think these things are great fun but folks like me are few and far between. I believe in education but is a four year degree all there is?

    As skilled fix it men and women ( yes there are excellent auto mechanics who happen to be women ) become less and less in number they will be able to charge more and more.

    Some one told me years ago ” Find some needed service that no one wants to do and do it well and charge accordingly.”

  • JANIE DOMINGUEZ

    Dear Mike I love your shows, I love the most Deadliest Catch you are amazing.
    I commend you to be our New Secretary of Labor under Mitt Romney Administration.

    With your help and people like you we have allready a VICTORY, my next president is Mitt Romney. By the way I love your letter to Romney.

    Sincerely

    Janie Dominguez
    An unemployed grass rooter in San Antonio, Texas. God Bless

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  • Brian Brinkmann

    Amen, Mike! As an electrical contracotr we are experiencing exactly what you are talking about. There is a shortage of skilled tradespeople in America, due in large part to the common and widespread misconception that every kid needs to go to college…

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  • lisa

    Mike,

    You are a true American who harbors a deep love for this country and for those who want to be independent and self-sufficient.It is sad that Mr. Obama promoted healthcare rather than promoting job growth and small enterprise during his presidency. You have hit the right note regarding your concerns. My husband and I relocated from philadelphia,pa to charleston,wv last year. We purchased a small apartment building on the est side of charleston ith the hopes of not only providing for our family, but to improve the neighborhood aesthetically and economically.e desire to somehow buy a farm in one of the rural counties and bring inner-city youth to it and teach them life skills that will assist them to choose a healthy and positive liestyle. God bless you with your work.

    LISA

  • Crawford Ohio

    mikeroweWORKS! Great to see that you keep putting good ideas in front of our nation’s leadership. I am even more excited to see that Gov Romney responded positively and only wish that the President might have as well. I hope that this is a precursor to a Romney administration that would reach out to those with hands-on experience in various areas that can help get America working again! Mark Crawford, Ohio

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  • BillieJo

    Hi Mike!

    I have loved watching your show for years, even have a little crush on you, but I appreciate your letter to Romney and see that Obama has done nothing to improve jobs for any workers.

    Keep up the great work Mike and I appreciate your great sense of humor.

    Hopefully Romney will become our next President before Obama drives America further into the ground.

    My choice was and always will be Hillary Clinton. A true Democrat.

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  • Larry

    Mike

    Maybe I missed it but have you ever done a show on retail Meatcutters? that was my trade for 40 years , talk about a dirty job. I can easily say it is one occupation that is so lacking in professional journeyman meatcutters at this time. Nobody is training them. Companies are begging for them. After taking some time off I made one phone call and was working in a management retail meat position the next day.

    I am thrilled that you are working with Romney. I’ve supported him for years , even being a union trade member.

    Thanks Mike and catch a crab for me.

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  • Bob C.

    Mickey Mantel said it best when he said, “It’s unbelievable how much you don’t know about the game you’ve been playing all your life.” I think that’s the problem with America. We are so busy with self-promotion that we do not have a clue how electricity is made, or where the water in our toilet comes from, or why the milk at the store isn’t spoiled, or the thousands of “miracles” which other people provide for us. I made an observation once that the scientist (that’s what I am) can do nothing but discover, the engineer must design, the mechanic must make it function, the operator must maintain it or everything stops. Any of these alone are impotent without the support of the others. Many years ago I was helping my garbage man take away my household refuse. He was feeling down. I asked why. He explained that he didn’t feel like he was worth anything. I told him he was more valuable to this community than all the movie stars, all the sports figures, and all the other over-priced phonies who produce nothing of real value. I hope I lifted his spirits some because that’s true. See how long you would last if you had to keep your own garbage. Appreciate the working man or watch your nation die.

  • Rob

    The sentiment Mr. Rowe expresses in both of these letters is certainly a worthy one, though I can’t help but see the irony in asking a man who built his fortune in private equity to campaign on the value of a hard day’s work, but I digress. The problem, as I see it, isn’t that skilled trades are popularly seen as “alternative”. It’s that our young people simply aren’t incentivized to go into these lines of work. I have nothing against hard and dirty work (believe me, I do all home improvements myself and have some degree of skill in a variety of disciplines). However, a lot of these jobs (specifically infrastructure) are supported by the government. They’re also the first that are cut in an economic downturn. How many new homes did you see built in 2009? How about road projects that actually progressed (naturally, I mean *before* the stimulus)? These jobs generally have little security, long hours, dangerous conditions, and comparatively little pay and fewer benefits than those that require a 4-year degree. Another thing that Mr. Rowe neglects to mention as he waxes poetic about a by-gone era in which hard, dirty work was valued… strong unions. Unions are the reason that our parents and grandparents were able to raise a family on their pay as a machinist or pipe fitter. They are the reason that we have a 40-hour work week and a weekend. They are the reason there’s a middle class in this country. Yet private-sector union membership (as a percentage of the total workforce) is in the single digits. Union membership in general is denigrated. If we want people to consider a career in the skilled trades, they need to be treated with respect. That means better pay, better benefits, and better job security.

    Mr. Rowe, I love the show and I respect your cause, but we need to treat the illness, not the symptom.

  • Mara Alexander

    Hi Mike!

    I’ve always loved your shows, and think what you’ve done for the Discovery channel is nothing short of amazing.

    I liked this letter a lot, even though it’s addressed to someone I don’t plan to vote for. *grins* Here’s the part that doesn’t make sense to me:

    “and many of the jobs this current administration has tried to “create” over the last four years are the same jobs that parents and teachers actively discourage kids from pursuing. (I always thought there was something ill-fated about the promise of three million “shovel ready jobs” made to a society that no longer encourages people to pick up a shovel.)”

    So the problem is with the country’s way of thinking of anything involving manual labor, right? That concept seems to be the main focus of the letter, and I happen to agree with it. So why take a swipe at the current administration (your choice of words and tone made it pretty clear) for effectively trying to change that?

    Your doing that seems very counter-productive to me, and I question the motives behind your statement.

    I also find it interesting that you start off with telling Romney if he reads it through to the end you’ll vote for him…and yet at the end of the letter claim you’re not politically motivated here.

    Come on, Mike…at least be honest.

    And like you “never heard back from Obama” in 2009…I doubt I’ll hear back from you, now. I actually don’t expect to. I’ll still watch your shows, even if I don’t agree with your politics.

  • Milt

    Obama at the Dem Convention:

    “So you see, the election four years ago wasn’t about me. It was about you. My fellow citizens, you were the change.”

    Yup, you chumps were the change alright:

    23 million unemployed

    43 straight months of 8+% unemployment

    45 million on food stamps

    Black poverty at record highs

    The middle class has lost 33% of its net worth under Obama

    Black youth unemployment over 50%

    Hispanic unemployment at 10.3%

    Illegals due to receive roughly $7.4 billion through Obama’s Additional Child Tax Credit.

    Food prices up 15% under Obama

    Gas prices doubled under Obama

    Obama has the worst job creation record since 1945

    Obama recovery the worst in 75 years

    Median household income $4,300 declines under Obama

    Average family health insurance up $1,500 under Obama

    Added $6 trillion to our debt…more than all Prezs. Combined

    Presided over only US credit downgrade

    Over 100 million people on some form of means tested welfare

    Obama’s Failed policies hurt 100% of Americans

  • Mary

    So true. Rock on, Mr. Rowe.

  • Laura Blanton

    Mike, my husband and I have always watched and enjoyed your shows. You are a very brave man. We appreciate the glimpses into jobs that so many of us wouldn’t want to do, but someone has too. I am pleased about your foundation and your efforts to educate the public about necessary jobs and train young people to do them. I love your letter to Romney and I hope that his presidency and your foundation can work closely together. We MUST get this country back on track and I appreciate your efforts to help do just that. Thanks again!

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  • Mike

    Mike, I am a huge Fan but your recent support of Mitt Romney has to stop. Mike please stop supporting the Romney campaign because anyone that calls 47% of Americans losers should not be the president of the United States. I believe I speak for many of your fans. Hate to see you support someone that looks down on so many of us and someone that wants to outsource America and take away all the jobs that you promote. Hard working Americans deserve better.

    God bless

    Mike

  • Joe

    This is a great cause and your show was instrumental in my starting a food trailer business. My best days in the past two years have been when I’ve been at my sweatiest, dirtiest and most tired. I’ve also found that I get the most amount of respect from my blue collar friends.

    I have an 8 year old son and he will not look at dirty jobs with anything but respect and that’s because of you. I don’t think you could have worked with all the people you have and not backed Romney.

    Best wishes.

  • Forty Seven%

    WOW Mike! I can’t believe you “endorsed” Willard Mitt Romney and let him use you like a pawn. This is the guy who called 47% of the country “victims” that he doesn’t need to worry about. Of course, however, they are mostly the eldery, vets, and unemployed/underemployed workers who need to be retrained for these skilled jobs you are talking about. The congressional GOP has voted numerous times to defund and dismantle job retraining programs for the skilled jobs you are talking about so I am not sure why you think Willard would be any different. I am one of your many viewers who just deleted your show(s) from my DVR and will be anxiously waiting to see your ratings go down just like Willard’s.

    Sad.

  • Carrie Penn

    Mike, I’ve been a fan for so long and I love your message. But, I think you have it all wrong with the messenger you just endorsed. In all fairness, if you are not politically motivated, will you share the stage with President Obama to deliver your message?

  • David Jordan

    WTF!!! Why attend a Romney event? I thought you were the man that worked the dirty jobs. Well, maybe your right. Mitt/ Bain Have send sent them overseas.

  • Mike

    Very disappointed to see you on the stage of a man who’s company outsourced jobs including mine in2000. Obama has a spine and a plan. Romney has no convictions. Would you consider yourself a politically astute observer? It might be a while before I can watch your show.

  • Dave S

    Mike, I have watched you from the beginning and have always loved your show. I am in the category of those upset to see you on stage with Mitt who is not and never will be a friend of blue collar workers like myself. I went thru 5 years of apprenticeship and have been a Union Electrician for 27 years. It’s no secret that Republicans hate unions as we tend to vote Democrat. We make up a large percent of the middle class and we make wages that you could buy a house with as well send your kids to college. It’s my belief that most Republicans would be happy with a two class society, one vacant of the well paid construction worker. They tend to prefer the right to work state where everyone makes minimum wage. Lots of you out there would love to blame this president for everything but we all know how his tenure started. There has never been a Republican President who has not left this country with anything but a deficit, even their beloved actor Ronald Regan. They know nothing of fiscal responsibility. They also stated their intent on making this president a one term president and have done nothing to help him or our country move forward. They didn’t support the American Jobs act or unemployment for those of us laid off from the failed policies of George. They did support welfare for the rich and bailing out all the banks. Anyway Mike I hope you give this president a chance with a less combative congress. Also realize as a third generation electrician guys like Mitt have never been our friend and never will. If they did I would consider voting for them. I will try to over look your choice to share the stage with this man but as a fellow hard working man beg you to reconsider. Your a Pisces too. I would have figured you to be more evolved…haa. I will do my best not to judge you. Dave.

  • Ron Trask

    I’ve seen you tackle some pretty nasty jobs, but You’ve take this dirty jobs theme to a whole other level when you stepped into politics. All I can say is wear a bio-hazard suite and make sure you don’t get any on you.

    I grew up on a farm, the son of a blue collar steel worker here in Colorado. I’m not a stranger to hard physical labor. I really applaud your effort to get recognition for skilled labor. Like you I don’t care which party is going to support this effort, but I think it is a matter of national security that we get someone’s attention on this. We have become a nation of accountants and sales and marketing people with no thought to producing anything that makes those jobs possible. We turn a blind eye to illegal emigration because we need people who are willing to learn and do the jobs that we tell ourselves is beneath us. If we don’t reverse this trend and get people back to work, we will find that there is nothing beneath us as we free fall.

    Keep up the good work, and ignore these “miss guided” folks (I altered my term) who think it has to be one party or the other.

  • Phil C.

    Hi Mike, been watching you for a long time, love your show. The letter you sent to President Obama was dated 10 days after he was sworn into office, my guess he had a little bit on his plate, like saving the country from going under. The person you was on stage with does not care about blue collar workers. You’re a smart man, President Obama is the man you want and need to be on stage with, He wants to HELP the working class and wants more trade schools. I know Mr. Romney said you was not endorsing him and you have no party affiliation but from the letters and comments from people I know , It looks like you’re guilty by association. Not sure if Mr. Obama would want you on stage with him now but HE was the person who would be the one who would have advanced your program. Good luck Mike, just wished you had chosen the Other Stage to Help you out!

  • Dave

    Proper etiquette for a program with “no political agenda,” I think, would have been to wait until January 2013 to send the letter, and to address it to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, just as before.

  • Dianne

    You are awesome! I love your program – keep doing what you’re doing!!

  • Ex-Fan

    Congratulations Mike, you just did your Dirtiest Job EVER! Despicable! I sure hope you got paid a lot for your appearance with Mitt, because your ACTING was some of your best! Never again will I watch your shows or buy anything you endorse. Wake up and smell the coffee dweeb!

  • Tina

    So disappointed. I was dismayed. It doesn’t matter who you support; it’s none of my business. But to actively campaign for someone who disparages the demonized “47%?” Oh, that’s right. You’re no longer in that category.

  • Mark ST

    Well, sorry to see you have gone partisan. Having gone from dirty to clean and back and forth a few times, always had respect for you and your efforts.

    However, standing in front of a 25 foot Romney sign at a Romney rally is *not* non-partisan.

    I am always sad when a public figure stakes out some political corner for reasons that can never be understood (see Sean Penn.) But you have chosen your corner, and I wish you luck and good fortune, neither of which I will support with my eyes or wallet again.

  • ken anthony

    Proper etiquette for a program with “no political agenda,” I think, would have been to wait until January 2013 to send the letter, and to address it to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, just as before.

    It is predictable that some would want to limit speech often couched to make it sound sooo reasonable but the intent is clear. Listen to the condescension… “We don’t mind if you say these things, when it doesn’t matter.”

    Mike, you are a great American. Have always loved your show. Now, thanks to the libtards, I have found your great website.

  • Kelley Beveridge

    Mike, you are right on the money. I wont take a lot of space explaining my opinions. but as I read these comments, I clearly see how the left always responds. Upset with you that you have an opinion that doesn’t agree with theirs. They can’t point to what Obama has done good…they can only point to what George Bush and Mitt Romney have done wrong in their opinion. I applaud the blue collar worker and want to see them succeed. Your works and your show support that and always have. You did offer your thoughts to Obama who chose to ignore them. Just because Romney chose to listen, that makes YOU wrong? Please. Keep up the good work!!

  • Julie Wilderman

    I have to agree with the many on here criticizing you on your hypocritical comments. You say you have no political agenda, yet you go on stage for a man running for president that not only has no plan to help the “working class” but shows his disdain for them everyday by his insensitive comments. You also sent President Obama his letter AFTER he was elected and in the White House and had to point out that he did not respond….not that he wasn’t busy cleaning up a HUGE mess left to him by the previous administration. Your endorsement of Mitt Romney shows to me that you do not support education, programs for seniors and low income, and women’s rights which are some of the big issues on the chopping block. I WILL NOT be watching your show anymore and have lost any of the little respect I have for you as an individual that can relate to the “working class” American. I hope for your family’s sake that you celebrity status has allowed you to accumulate enough wealth to provide for their health concerns as they grow older…heaven knows that if these bozos get into office, the concept of available and affordable healthcare will be a thing of the past. Hope you can sleep at night because many can not with the worry of our future under Romney/Ryan. I won’t expect a response.

  • JasonJ

    Just want to say thank you for what you are trying to do and it is an encouragement to me. I think many people (just by reading the comments) still would take political rhetoric over actually fixing the problems at hand. Maybe more people should actually read what you are trying to do, which to me, sounds exactly like what everybody should be trying to do Rep. or Dem. Just sayin

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  • Steve

    When will the labor unions and others who think that somehow the Democrat agenda supports their cause actually wake up? Obama is a failure in fulfilling his promises, plain and simple. He has done nothing to make “shovel ready” jobs – he even said if things aren’t better by the end of his first term he wouldn’t run again. Well Mr. President, things aren’t better. You said so yourself. “You won’t see change tomorrow, or next week. It takes time.”

    Well Mr. President, your time is up.

    “Oh, but he’s saving healthcare!” Bull cookies! He’s spending money he doesn’t have. He’s writing checks his body (or the country) can’t cash!

    Mike – I applaud your efforts in championing the cause of the workers regardless of the political party involved. I just hope that some day, unions and organized labor will wake up and stop blindly supporting their poster children.

  • GhaVO from VA

    First of all… I love your show and the sincerity in which you do your job.

    I just read you letter…. and I thank you for your effort in trying to change the perception of the “skilled trade”. I grew up in a 3rd world country and move here is the US back in the mid 80′s… And since then has been a steady decline of interest in the blue collar industries. I wish you good luck and God Speed in your journeys. Keep the Dirty in you Alive!

    Gha-VO