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My thoughts on the Future of America

I’ve made a decision about who I’d like to see as the next President of the United States! After being truly embarrassed by the characters currently in the race (in what, to me, reminds me a remake of The Gong Show), I was wracking my brain about WHO in the world (okay, yes, the country) has the skills and ability that I think would be useful in running our nation.

Then, while reading a post this morning fed to me by Facebook, it hit me!

Mike Rowe!

Yes, the Dirty Jobs Mike Rowe.

Born in Baltimore in 1962 Mike is the oldest of three boys born to John and Peggy Rowe (who are seen with him in a series of Viva paper towel commercials).

As a youth, he attended Kenwood Presbyterian Church (where his parents still regularly attend), attended Overlea High School—where he excelled in both theater and singing, was an Eagle Scout (and in June, 2012, was awarded the “Distinguished Eagle Scout Award” by the Boy Scouts of America), attended Essex Community College and later graduated from Towson University with a degree in communication studies. He sang briefly with the Chorus of the Chesapeake and sang professionally with the Baltimore Opera.

In the early 1990s, he began his television career as a host for QVC. He hosted Your New Home for WJZ-TV in Baltimore, Worst Case Scenarios for TBS, On-Air TV for American Airlines and more. From 2001 to 2005, he hosted Evening Magazine on KPIX-TV in San Francisco. During this time, he appeared in a news segment called “Somebody’s Gotta Do It,” profiling a number of unpleasant professions—a concept which later grew into Dirty Jobs.

He also hosted a three-part series How Booze Built America on the Discovery Channel, has countless voice-over credits including narrating American Chopper, American Hot Rod, Deadliest Catch, Wild Pacific and Ghost Labs. He hosted the Discovery Channel’s annual “Shark Week” in 2006 and 2008, and is currently the narrator for National Geographic Channels’ series Wicked Tuna. In the fall of 2014, CNN launched a “new original series” featuring Mike (and going back to one of his earliest programs) called Somebody’s Gotta Do It.

That’s an impressive resume for a television host / celebrity, but you may be asking yourself WHY would Mike Rowe be a good presidential candidate? Well, here are some of my thoughts on that subject.

16 Pure Michigan Reasons Why Mike Rowe Should Be President in 2016:

Mike Rowe Pooper Scooper1. He’s used to mud-slinging and dealing with shit! Remember the Dirty Jobs on August 28, 2007 (Season 3, Episode 8) when he was part of the street cleaning crew to scoop the (horse) poop on Mackinac Island? Rumor has it he loved the island so much that he sent the crew onto the next filming location while he stayed around to enjoy the scenery.

2. He’s not afraid reach new heights or immerse himself in his work. He did, after all, spend a day working atop (and below) the famed Mackinac Bridge in the August 7, 2007 episode of Dirty Jobs (Season 3, Episode 8) called “Bridge Painter.”

3. He was the May, 2015 keynote speaker for the Mackinac Policy Conference held each year at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island. There at the request of Michigan Governor Rick Snyder and the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce, Mike spoke about the importance of skilled trade jobs. While there, he said “parents and school counselors across the country continue to place too much emphasis on four-year degrees as the only path to success, creating a negative perception of blue collar workers among youths.” Mike is on a one-man mission to bring national attention to the importance of skilled trades training across the country and that is especially true here in Michigan.

4. He used that appearance at the conference to kick off a partnership with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, Michigan’s Talent Investment Agency and Tom Daldin, host of Under the Radar Michigan, where 11 videos will address common misconceptions and perceptions about skilled trades, highlight opportunities and inspire K -12 students in Michigan as they begin to think about careers.

5. He doesn’t back down from a challenge. It wasn’t all about politics and jobs during the 2015 Mackinac Conference on Mackinac Island. While there, CNN asked him about his experience as an opera singer and Mike was quick to offer up a short vignette. Watch it here.

6. He’s well spoken (both on paper and on air). Did you see his 3-minute promo given about a year ago from the lawn of the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island? He said “I’ve never had a bad time in Michigan, or on Mackinac—especially at the Grand Hotel and you come here for yourself I think the same will be true for you.” Thanks to #YooperSteez for having this video archived on their website!

7. He loves Mackinac Island. Did I already mention that? In the fall of 2009, Dirty Jobs producer Dave Barsky noted “this will not be the last time the show is filmed in the Straits of Mackinac.” Now, the show is no longer in production, but we know Mike has a fondness for this historic island—so we know he’ll find a way to feature it again in some future show.

8. He is kind and courteous to his fans. While on Mackinac Island, Mike had the chance to meet fans (and 74-year-old twin sisters) Carolyn and Marilyn Maedel from St. Clair, Michigan. Each summer and fall, since 1986, the sisters have visited the famed island—often staying at the Grand Hotel. They were there in 2009 when Mike was there and they even orchestrated a chance encounter with him in the lobby where he even asked them where the elevator was. So taken with their knowledge of the show, Mike filmed a 5-minute segment with them (from the lawn of the Grand Hotel) that closed the Mackinac Island Show. In 2010, he and the twins were back on the island where they filmed a segment called “Dirty Conversations” about past episodes. Read more about the sisters and their love affair with Mike Rowe here.

9. He was the voice for Ford for seven years (2007-2014)—a company founded in Michigan in 1903. Although they recently parted ways, both had nothing but good things to say about each other and the validity and longevity of their relationship. And, thanks to social media, the archives of those television and radio spots with Mike sharing his heartfelt pitch for the auto leader will live on. Perhaps there were underlying reasons why they are no longer working together, but it didn’t become a matter of contention out there in the media—which says something to me again about his integrity.

10. He has his own line of Caterpillar work boots. According to the website for Wolverine Worldwide (headquartered in Rockford, Michigan): “Cat Footwear comes from a world of industry and action. A world where you can build anything. Where effort is everything. Where hard work pays off. Where others see obstacles, we see opportunity. We are Earthmovers. Distributed in more than 150 countries, the brand has grown from a small collection of work boots into a global lifestyle brand.”

11. He loves the Pure Michigan brand, so I am told. I heard it through the tourism grape vine that he’s expressed interest in doing the narration for the “Your Trip Begins at” should former Michigan resident Tim Allen ever retire from the position. Mike Rowe could not be reached for comment to confirm nor deny this claim, but I think it would be a fine idea!

Mike Rowe12. He likes to drink (responsibly). Mike is known to imbibe on craft beer, wine and spirits on shows he’s hosted or while broadcasting his online shows. That’s important to us here in Michigan, where craft beer, small-batch distilled spirits, cider, mead and wine contribute to our state’s manufacturing, agriculture and tourism industries. Now, we just need to get him here to sample the award-winning beverages we’re producing in the Great Lakes State!

13. He doesn’t hide the truth. Even if it is the ugly truth. Did you know that blackened or charred cow bone dust is used as a pigment (such as ink or wood stain) and is also often used in the process of refining sugar and stripping it of its natural coloring? Mike learned that while filming “Bone Black” at Ebonex in Melvindale. It’s not pretty (Mike admitted it was the second dirtiest job he’s ever done) and it the insightful episode was sure to cause a stink with some animal rights folks. But it is a true and actual story.

14. He’s an advocate for natural resources. Michigan is home to many invasive species that threaten our woods and our waters. On the November 2, 2010 episode of Dirty Jobs (Season 6, Episode 3), Mike visited the Great Lakes region to shadow scientists at the US Fish & Wildlife Service as they attempt to control the sea lamprey population—one of the earliest species to travel the shipping channels where the colonized and began to decimate the large fish species in the lakes.

15. He listens and responds! A few years ago, when I was still living in Plainwell, I posted a question on Mike’s Facebook page: “Is Mike Rowe your real name?” Growing up in the radio industry, I know plenty of people by their “real” name and their “on air” name—so it’s something I’ve always been intrigued with (and yes, I have a “real” name and an “on air” name). He did reply back—short and sweet, but he did respond! Oh, the answer? Yes, Mike Rowe is his “real” name.

16. He has a great sounding voice (and is easy on the eyes, oddly, even when he is “on the job” and covered in goo). And, yes, I realize it has nothing specifically to do with Michigan—other than it’s my opinion and I live in Michigan (and I am the one writing this post).

In all seriousness, Mike has the character and integrity that we need in our President.

Here are 16 MORE reasons he should be our President:

Work Hard and Smart1. He is all about the American worker – the skilled workers that keep this country going. That’s his philosophy and in all the years I’ve been following his work, he has never wavered from this. He looks up to the blue collar worker as a foundation for what makes this country great. He inspires us to do the same. Through Mike’s public comments, we are reminded that every job has a place and a purpose. Imagine if no one scooped the poop on Mackinac Island? Imagine if no one had the skills to roof your house? Imagine if you had to change the oil in your car every 3000 miles? The world goes round and round because we each play a role in doing so, and every person who gets up and goes to work and contributes to our society deserves the same respect as attorneys, doctors, scientist, engineers and others with high-paying degreed jobs.

2. He’s not afraid to get dirty, for all the right reasons. Expounding on #1 above, not only does Mike respect the trade workers of America—but he’s dedicated his professional career to digging in right alongside them to learn about their jobs and share their stories with the rest of us. He’s not a sideline TV host who watches from afar, he rolls up his sleeves, laces up his boots and gets busy.

3. He understands the non-profit world and has established a successful charitable organization called the MikeRoweWORKSFoundation which rewards people with a passion to get trained for skilled jobs that actually exists. This foundation has been instrumental in granting more than $3 million in education for trade schools across the country.

4. He built his own fortune (reported $35 million) but doesn’t flaunt it or live in excess. He admits he lives in a modest apartment in San Francisco, where he has lived for about 15 years (with views of Treasure Island and Alcatraz).

5. He may be skilled at dirty jobs, but I haven’t anything about his dirty laundry. He keeps his nose clean, so to speak, in that he’s not controversial or deceptive—something we accept too easily in our presidential candidates. It’s funny, we wouldn’t marry, work for or associate with such people in our inner circle of friends, but we’ll tolerate it at the federal level when it comes to the “leaders” (and I use that term loosely) of our country?

6. He’s an entrepreneur. He’s taking his Dirty Jobs brand to new levels, offering an online store of hats, t-shirts and even bobble heads. You may think, why do we need more of this “swag” in the world-but these items offer positive messages AND support the scholarship fund for his foundation, so it’s a win-win-win program.

Mike Rowe and bobblehead7. He understands social technology and uses it for good, not evil.

8. Mike was one of the first celebrities to use Facebook Live and is regularly in contact with his fan base. Coming to the airwaves often from his home office, he answers questions candidly (often with a glass of wine or beer) and provides a genuine sense of concern and respect for everyone.

9. Mike is a storyteller (not in the lying way, like politicians) but in the downhome way like Paul Harvey. His weekly podcast, The Way I Heard It, provides insights into a variety of topics and is delivered in a humorous and informational way.

10. Mike is an eloquent writer. I’ve seen this in his regular Facebook posts, and even more so in his blog—Off the Wall.

Mike Rowe and his Dog11. He’s pet friendly. A couple years back, Mike rescued a pup found wandering aimlessly along the streets of San Francisco (where he lives). In true fashion, he used social media in a bizarre yet entertaining way to allow fans help name the canine. He took name suggestions, wrote out the top contenders on a puppy pee pad and left it out for the dog to mark his territory. Wherever “it” landed was to be the pooch’s name. Freddy it was (and is). Now, Freddy also keeps in regular communication with fans through the “Fridays with Freddy” blog. Maybe that’s the way we should be solving problems in America?

12. He recognizes a good thing when he sees it. While Mike has initiated many of his own worthy endeavors, he also is quick to support others doing good things that are aligned with his general mission. Case in point, Project Jumpstart—a group of Baltimore builders desperate to hire skilled tradespeople but unable to find any. Their group helped subsidize a pre-apprenticeship program that identifies and qualifies potential new hires. You can learn more about this program here.

13. He is a team player. Working with Direct Energy (One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning, Benjamin Franklin Plumbing and Mister Sparky), Mike has launched a webisode series on the benefits of working in the trades (see the trend) called “Hot Under the Blue Collar.” The show highlights opportunities that a career in the trade can offer those looking for a job. Each webisode features one myth that Mike dispels with a variety of facts, statistics and real-life experiences such as A) there are no good jobs left in America; B) the best path to a good job is a four-year degree; C) you can’t make six figures; and D) there’s no room for women in the trades (among other topics). Webisodes are featured (for viewing and sharing) online here.

14. He admits when he is wrong. Wouldn’t that be a fresh change of pace? In April, 2016, while at home in San Francisco, he ran into another local celebrity—Metallica frontman James Hetfield. In a momentary brain-fart (Mike’s own description) he called him the name of another band member Lars Ulrich (something Mike admits he knew wasn’t right the minute it came out of his mouth). Hetfield corrected him, Mike likely blushed and in true Mike Rowe fashion, he admitted the error—publicly, on social media. “Dear James. Man, do I feel like an idiot. Normally, when I feel like an idiot, the feeling diminishes over time. But after our meeting yesterday morning and my subsequent brain-fart regarding your actual identity, I’m afraid my feelings of idiocy have not only persisted, they’ve actually metastasized, to the point where now I’m wondering just how idiotic I’ll feel this time tomorrow.” He is, after all, only human…but the fact that he made light of his momentarily lapse reinforces that fact.

Mike Rowe Senate Testimony15. He is modest. He doesn’t see himself as a politician. All the better. Often those that make the best leaders don’t always see themselves as such. They’re humbled and recognize that they’re not the most important person in the world. We could sure use more of that, right? In an interview with CBS Philadelphia, he said: “Obviously, I’m flattered. For the last couple of years, things have become hyper-political. There is no subject that doesn’t have a political element to it now. Only my own little Facebook page, somebody said you’ve got between 6 and 700,000 requests to run for something. I’m not a political guy. I do go to Congress once a year. I yell at them about the cost of tuition or the 4 or 5 million jobs that exist that nobody seems to want. Because that issue, in and of itself, drips with so much polemic, people assume, I think, that I’m in that world.” Read more of his conversation here.

16. He understands that you create your own future and your own happiness. This write up from 2015 explains it perfectly (and was actually the inspiration for this entire blog post). In it, he says: “Happiness does not come from a job. It comes from knowing what you truly value, and behaving in a way that’s consistent with those beliefs.”

Now, you may say back to me: “Yeah, but what does that have to do with being a political candidate and running for President as you are suggesting here?” And I say to that, having an internal sense of peace and happiness means a great deal to the success of ANY job you have. Especially, something as important as the leader of the free world. I think many of our pompous politicians are actually unhappy in their lives (although they throw money around and run their mouths to try to reflect the opposite). I believe when you’re truly happy in your world, that you want others to be the same. That you want to lift people up, be part of the solution and make the world a better place. Mike Rowe definitely talks that talk AND walks that walk!

I know I’m not alone in my thought process here. I know you’re sitting there nodding your head in agreement on this one. I’m not particularly political (and what little interest I have had over the years has made my father cringe), but I think I’m onto something here. Who else is with me?

Now…who would be his VP? I have some thoughts on that too…



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