A Trucker's open letter to Mitt Romney

Mitt Romney can gain more votes than he realizes, save more jobs than most would think, and get more donations than projected.

Hello all,

I am a truck driver and a politician. Mostly truck driver since my campaign is utterly stalled for lack of a campaign manager, but that’s ok for now I guess.

I am here to scare the hell out of you and give Romney a path to follow where he can break the Teamsters and win a lot of votes and donations.

The trucking industry has 3 million proffessional drivers according to this site. They also estimate about 12 million trucks of commercial size of various sorts. This ranges from your average box van to full tractor trailer combinations. Most trucks are used locally for their parent companies or for farming activities.

Trucking represents an astonishing 1.2 million small businesses. Out of 27.75 million businesses (source) this means trucking represents 1 in 20 small businesses.

Revenue in the industry is 255 billion and pofit marins hover near 4.5%.

California represents 13% of the nations GDP, ergo one can assume they also use 13% of trucking… This is important!

There are the following impacts happening soon:

1) California is Cap and Taxing Diesel Commercial Vehicles as well as mandating usage of “a low carbon fuel” version of diesel. Estimates show this fuel will cost $6.60 a gallon.

2) A new Hours of Service (HoS) rule makes drivers over 8 hours a day take 30 minutes off on a special new break. This will probably affect 50% of drivers about 75% of the time from a possible average of 10 hours normal drive time. This represents a 1.875% decrease in productivity.

3) A new HoS rule prevents multiple 34 hour resets (Proffessional drivers are limited in how many hours we can drive in a day and how many in a week. A 34 hour reset, or rest period, resets the clock to 0 on both) we can perform to one a week. This could impact productivity (it will affect my productivity by 15% or so and it will reduce how much ‘home time’ I can get by as much as 66%)

4) There is a new and unfair point system under CSA 2010. When we get warnings for out headlights or flat tires we will get points under CSA 2010 rules. It unfairly targets owner operators as well by a system where businesses get points as well. [For the record I am campaigning with a State level solution to this. I will direct via bill the States General Attorney to sue when/if an Oregon driver gets points for a warning]

5) State’s are making new rules designed to punish drivers. Minnesota tickets drivers (and it is not a cheap offense, several of these and you lose your right to drive under the point system) for having an energy drink in the cab. California makes trucks have severe idle controls or stop idling entirely. Oregon has a shoulder driving law which prevents passing others but does not advertise the law for drivers. The list goes on.

6) New obesity rules are hitting us. I am currently somewhat over 300 pounds. This is not due to me eating to much. This is due to sitting on my arse for 11+ hours, laying down for 10+ hours, and standing/walking for less than 1 hour on a typical day. This job sucks for weight control and a lot of drivers are considered ‘obese’.

These Obesity rules are hitting all sorts of angles from ‘analysis of sleep apenia problems’ to fines and penalties for companies with to many employees overweight, to other such idiot idea’s to help control our weight.

7) NAFTA is going to cost US drivers jobs and cost the US tax revenue. Mexico unfairly subsidizes Mexican diesel prices and couple with their low payroll will mean Mexican drivers can haul freight for 65% of the cost of American drivers. And America gains no Mexican freight because we have to pay full price for Mexican fuel. NAFTA can cost 500,000 jobs Mr. Romney. This is not something our nation can afford.

Mitt Romney this is the tip of the Iceberg of problems, yet if you campaign, or just promise, to remove these… we will come.

California alone, when they enact this law, will skyrocket costs and impact the economy. Truckers, if 13% of all driving happens there, do 56.277 billion miles in California. This represents about 10 billion gallons of fuel.

The California Cap and Tax combined with their fuel requirement will therefore remove an additional 26 billion dollars from the economy of the United States.

Couple this Mr. Romney with the lost productivity (which you know and I know will drive costs up) and you are talking a minimum of a 10% increase in the national costs of trucking (The California cost alone) to as high as a 20% increase. Various rules and regulations, coupled with NAFTA threaten to cost us at least 600,000 jobs as well.

Mr. Romney I have painted the picture for you. Truck drivers are aware of these problems and we can provide donations. We need a show of support. Not a half arsed one, but a full showing of support. If you do support us know that Teamster drivers will have conflicts of heart and many will support you.

Mr. Romney if you support drivers and truck companies you gain the support of 1.5 million small businesses, 3 million enthusiastic voters, and you fix a portion of the economy to boot. You show a sign of support and I will work hard to grass roots drivers to give you a hundred or more in donations each. They will come out for you. They will even advertise for you at cost or as donations.

Trucking for Romney (if he listens)… I am Michael Harrington and I endorse this message!