Michael Speciale moved to North Carolina when he joined the U.S. Marine Corps at age 18 and, after spending much of his military career at bases at Cherry Point and Camp Lejeune, came to love the area and its people and lifestyle.
He and wife of 38 years, Hazel, a civil service employee, settled here when he retired in 1995 and others in his family moved to eastern North Carolina.
At most campaign functions, Speciale identifies himself as "a Christian, a conservative, and a patriot. I believe in the original intent of the U.S. Constitution, and I study the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence continually," he said.
This is Speciale’s fourth run for the legislature but said this time he thinks voters have seen their liberties eroding and have views much closer to the ideas he has consistently voiced. The district has also changed to now include parts of Craven, Pamlico and Beaufort counties.
He is a "right to life" advocate, a staunch Second Amendment supporter and life member of the National Rifle Association, and promises to oppose any legislation that would contradict the state or federal constitutions.
But, he said, "Our last bastion against federal tyranny is our state governments" and "they must assert their rights as sovereign states and nullify every act of Congress and the President that is not within the scope of their authority under the U.S. Constitution."
He highlights key current state issues as the economy and jobs, energy prices, excessive regulation and taxes, education and new taxes such as ferry tolls and feels strongly that the state must highlight its work to be military-friendly.
Speciale said the state could ease the economic burden on small businesses by removing unnecessary regulations which cost N.C. businesses an estimated $1.5 billion annually, lower the corporate tax rate, and reduce state spending — particularly by reducing overlapping or outdated programs.
"Excessive regulation, taxes, and state spending impedes production, exhausts cash reserves, and prevents expansion and hiring in our business community," he said.
On the issue of education, Speciale is concerned about students not graduating from high school or graduating without the information to begin college without remedial work and without skills to find work, manage their personal finances, or knowing enough history to be "caretakers of their liberty."
He advocates minimal state involvement in education, a basic core curriculum, and supports vouchers and charter schools. He opposes all federal involvement in education.
Speciale sees highways, bridges and ferries as "a legitimate function of government" and a ferry as "a bridge from one land mass to another" and opposes ferry tolls. If tolls are absolutely necessary to keep the ferries running, the cost should be spread equally on all users with a regular rider discount program for those who need the ferry to get to work.