October 16, 2008

‘Joe the Plumber’ Not Licensed, Registered

Joe Wurselbacher, the Ohio plumber thrust into the national limelight during the presidential debate, isn't licensed and says he doesn't need one.

He is also not registered to operate as a plumber in Ohio -- which means, well, he's not a plumber, The (Toledo) Blade reported Thursday.

Wurselbacher, identified as "Joe the Plumber" during Wednesday's presidential debates, became emblematic of the American taxpayer. A weekend conversation with Democrat Barack Obama in Toledo about whether buying a small business would mean he'd be paying taxes under the Illinois senator's tax plan turned into a springboard for Republican John McCain to discuss his economy plan.

Wurzelbacher said he was hired by Newell Plumbing and Heating Co. six years ago and that the possibility of him eventually buying the company was discussed during his job interview, the Blade said.

He said he understood he would work under Newell's license as long as the licensed contractor works on the same site.

Wulzerbacher's fame irked Tom Joseph, business manager for the United Association of Plumbers, Steamfitters and Service Mechanics Local 50. He told the Blade Wulzerbacher didn't undergo any apprenticeship training.

"When you have guys going out there with no training whatsoever, it's a little disreputable to start with," Joseph said. "We're the real Joe the Plumber."

The syndicated television show "Inside Edition" said it has public records showing the 34-year-old Wurzelbacher has two liens -- one that was released and one in effect for more than $1,182, indicating he owes money to the state of Ohio.