Candidate Interview- Michael Speciale, NC House, District 3

Interview questions were developed by a Vetting Committee of 10 members of the Coastal Carolina Taxpayers Association. All candidates for a particular office were asked the same questions. Interviews were conducted by 3 rotating members of the Vetting Committee. Summaries are the agreed-upon consensus of each 3-member group. Candidates were asked to interview in-person, but phone interviews were offered for candidates living outside Craven County if schedules would not allow travel.


Name, Candidate Position: Michael Speciale, North Carolina House, District 3
Interview Date: 10-5-16
Party Affiliation: Republican
Interviewed: In-Person
Name: Michael Speciale
Phone:   252-635-5326
Address: 16 West Jones Street, Room 1008, Raleigh, North Carolina, 27601
Educational Background:
  • AAS (Associate in Applied Sciences) in Business Management/Operations Management
  • Staff Non Commissioned Officers Academy (Leadership course), US Marine Corps
  • NC Institute of Political Leadership
  • Basic Law Enforcement Training Program (BLET), Craven Community College
Demonstrations of Leadership:
During my 20 years in the Marine Corps, I learned that respect must be earned by setting the example. I didn’t ask anyone to do anything I wouldn’t do myself.
Memberships and Associations:
  • CCTA (former Chairman)
  • Craven County Republican Party (former Chairman)
  • Retired Enlisted Association (Life member, former Director)
  • National Rifle Association – NRA (Life member)
Why are you running for this office?
I feel that there is much more we can do in the General Assembly. We had 140 years of one party rule, so while we’ve made a good start, we still have much of 140 years’ worth of corrections and changes that still need to be made.
What is the organizational structure of your campaign, fund raising capability, etc.?
I’m pretty much a one man show.  I’m working every day, and a lot of people are willing to volunteer.  I appreciate them, and I’ll use their help as needed.
Which of the Founding Fathers do you most admire?
George Washington.
He was a prolific writer. He understood freedom and liberty. He was one of very few people who could have handled being our first President. He could have been king, but was wise enough not to. He tried to retire several times; however, he saw the country’s needs as being more important than his own and agreed to resume public service when called upon. In his will, he not only freed his slaves, he also gave them a pension.
Margaret Thatcher once said, “Consensus is a lack of leadership.” Do you agree? Why or why not?
No. You can get a lot more done if you don’t care who gets the credit. You can suggest a pattern of ideas to a team so that they begin to think of them as their own ideas and take credit for them. Then they tend to work cooperatively on what they see as a joint effort and get a whole lot done.
Which President do you most admire?
Ronald Reagan.
He really was “the great communicator.” He didn’t care who got the credit. He let the Democrats think he was stupid. He manipulated them, and they didn’t even know it. He wasn’t always right, but his ideas were accepted by people because he communicated with them so well.
Do you believe the Founding Fathers intended the Constitution to be:
            a. An evolving document whose meaning changes with time, or
            b. A permanent set of rules to limit the power of the federal government?
It’s a permanent set of rules to limit the power of the federal government.
It’s the law of the land and not up for negotiation. Article V explains how it can be amended. It is not intended to be open to interpretation. It was intended to be read and understood by the average person.
Discuss an ethical dilemma you faced. What happened? How did you resolve it?
I was offered a “quid pro quo.” (I’ll help with your bill if you’ll help with mine.) I didn’t think my constituents would care how I voted on his bill. I’ve always seen these trade-offs as a slippery slope, but as I said, I didn’t think my home folks would care how I voted on his bill, so I agreed.
Then I went back to my office and told Hazel. She just looked at me as only a wife can. She knew my concerns about falling into accepting a quid pro quo situation, but she didn’t say anything. She just gave me that look.
I turned around and went back to my colleague’s office and told him, “I can’t do this.” He just laughed and said, “Mike, I knew you’d be back.”
Where do individual rights come from?
What do you know about Common Core? What is your position on it and why?
I sponsored the bill to end it. It’s likely we’ll have another bill this year because that one did not do the job. I’m adamantly opposed to it.
What is your opinion on gun ownership, registration, and gun free zones?
It’s pretty clear that the right to keep and bear arms shall not be abridged.
An act requiring gun registration is not a Constitutional act.
Gun free zones are killing zones.
What does the phrase “Separation of Church and State” mean to you?
It is absolutely not in the Constitution. Thomas Jefferson used the phrase in a letter to the Danbury Baptists as a way to explain an idea to them, but again, it is NOT in the Constitution.
If elected, what would be your number one priority item during your term in office?
My #1 priority is always going to be liberty. This is followed by security. Our borders and immigration are of great concern. The state needs to stand up for itself against the federal government when the federal government is not guided by the Constitution.
This interview was conducted by Kathryn Blankley, Hal James, and Raynor James.

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