by Diane Rufino, March 12, 2019
Meet Rep. Michael Speciale – the proven, tried and true constitutional conservative candidate for the US Congress from eastern North Carolina.
There are several candidates who are seeking the Congressional seat from the 3rd District that was held by the late great Walter B. Jones, but only one is a tried and true conservative. And that is Rep. Michael Speciale. Michael has served the people and the state faithfully and has supported and promoted conservative values unwaveringly as a representative in the NC General Assembly.
Many candidates play the game of politics and court political favor by campaigning on what they know the particular party or group of voters expects them to say and what they know voters want to hear. Sometimes it is necessary, for political purposes, for a candidate to seek the support of Tea Party groups and other groups like them. But as we have also seen, sometime being associated with such groups can hurt a candidate. Over the years, we in the Tea Party/constitutional conservative movement have been terribly disappointed in candidates who have openly mocked the movement or who have courted the Tea Party only to later feel embarrassed by the association.
Michael is unabashedly a Tea Party conservative. He serves his constituency and his state with a conscience and with strong principles.
Michael is a retired US Marine who lives in Craven County and is currently serving his fourth term in the NC House from NC house district 3. House district 3 now consists of Craven County, but previously it represented Beaufort and Pamlico Counties as well. Until he went to the NC House, the people of eastern NC had never been represented by anyone whose values were so well-aligned with their own. He ran on a simple platform – limited government, fiscal responsibility, lower taxes, less regulation of businesses, growing the economy by respecting free market principles, protection of the Second Amendment in NC, eminent domain (property rights), education reform, and opposition to government mandated healthcare.
For those who don’t recognize this platform, it is essentially a restatement of the Mission of the Tea Party movement. These aren’t principles that Michael threw out there at election time to impress voters or to curry favor with conservatives. These are principles that he believes in to his core and which he has a firm grasp of.
These also happen to be the principles and positions embraced by our founders as they struggled to ground them firmly in state constitutions and in our US Constitution. They were the principles and positions that were responsible for the greatest degree of individual and economic freedom in our country’s history and were responsible for the historic growth and success of the United States. We study history to know what works and what doesn’t. Michael knows his history.
While serving in the NC General Assembly, Michael has worked on many different levels to secure and even expand our Second Amendment rights, to secure our First Amendment guarantees to religious liberty and to free speech (requiring protection of free and equal speech on NC college and university campuses), to require Founding American History to be taught in the state’s public high schools, to get rid of Common Core once and for all (it is still alive in our public schools, cleverly re-named “Carolina Core”), to require parents to be notified and to give or withhold permission for their children to be given instruction on sex education and the practice of safe sex (brilliantly, his bill wouldn’t require parents to permit their child to opt out of such a class, but would be require them to give permission to allow them to opt in), to protect our commercial fishermen’s ability to earn a living, to fight sanctuary policies for illegal aliens, to amend the state constitution (to enlarge gun rights, to remove offending language, including the Literacy Test requirement for voting, which is an offensive remnant of Reconstruction, and to remove the stigmas of defeat imposed on NC by the post-Civil War US Congress), to remove unnecessary regulations and to reduce taxes for all businesses, to reduce the tax burden for citizens and to provide a favorable economic climate to attract businesses and other employment opportunities to NC, to reign in the once-irresponsible spending of state government and to apply fiscal restraint to its spending decisions and policies, to protect private property rights, and to secure and expand the rights and liberties of all North Carolinians in general.
Michael promised he would do those things when he was running for office, and when he was elected, he went right to work on them, never once equivocating on his position or changing his position when called to vote. Quickly, Rep. Speciale became known by those who serve with him, by the communities he serves, and by conservative policy and thinktank institutions such as NC Civitas and the John Locke Foundation as a strong and principled constitutional conservative. He has worn that distinction with honor.
This new session (Michael’s fourth term) of the NC General Assembly is no different. In just a month’s time, Michael has sponsored or co-sponsored legislation to: secure and strengthen Second Amendment rights, to allow certain teachers/school administrators to be trained and to carry a firearm on school campuses), to protect places of worship, to require all schools in NC to allow and respect diversity of opinion, thought, and religion (or lose state funding), to require NC to comply with immigration laws and to create a private cause of action when officials, towns, universities etc do not), to incentivize educational freedom (tax credits for those who operate a home schooler), to re-assert state Sovereignty (especially as it helps maintain the proper balance of government between the federal government and the States), and to protect the rights of the living yet unborn. He has opposed bills which spend recklessly and needlessly, which would create or enlarge social programs, which would place a financial burden on the state (such as the $2 billion bond issue), which would raise the minimum wage to $15 (which Democrats have introduced; which would cut jobs in the state), and which would dumb down our public school education system (such as he bill introduced again by Democrats to alter the grading system to a 15-point system thus allowing students to be considered passing as long as they score over a 40).
Michael founded the House FREEDOM CAUCUS and serves as its Chairman. He is also the Chairman of the Homeland Security, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee, Vice-Chairman of State and Local Government, and a member of the Transportation, Elections & Ethics Law, Appropriations and Appropriations Justice and Public Safety Committees.
The reason I write so passionately about Rep. Speciale is because he has been such a loyal and strong supporter of the Tea Party and such a treasured friend and servant to all who call themselves true constitutional conservatives. Again, Tea Party principles are principles that a candidate or representative firmly believes in and guide his words and his votes, and are not simply a campaign line. One can tell a true Tea Party conservative by his history of voting. One’s voting record is the best evidence of what principles guide him in deciding whether the particular bill is something government is entitled to legislate on or should legislate on. And Michael’s record tells that story. It gives us the assurances that he has the intuition to introduce proper legislation and to vote responsibly within a strict constitutional framework.
I like to think I know what I am talking about when it comes to principled politicians and constitutional conservatives. I started the Tea Party in Pitt County (including Lenoir and Greene counties) back in 2009 and have been running it faithfully ever since. We meet every month to be educated and to remind ourselves why and how conservative principles work. I am a member of the Coastal Carolina Taxpayers Association and I am the Legislative Action Committee Chair. I spend a lot of time in contact with my legislators, reviewing bills and committee meetings, writing in favor of bills and against others, and even writing model bills and resolutions. I’ve been active with my state legislature for many years. I have spent many years on the leadership committee of the Republican Women of Pitt County and also with the Pitt County GOP. I am a lawyer (conservative one; my Con Law professor was NJ Judge and Fox Senior Analyst Andrew Napolitano), writer of history and conservative topics, blogger, speaker, and I am a panelist on a weekly Talk Radio Show (WAKE UP CALL) serving eastern NC. I interact with hundreds of conservatives on an almost daily basis but reach far more.
But no one has to take my word. NC Civitas gives Michael the highest rating for conservativism and the John Locke Society applauds him for his principled leadership when it comes to fiscal responsibility. When I spoke recently to a board member of the John Locke Foundation about his positions with regard to spending bills that others have submitted (including fellow Republicans), he agreed with Michael. The gentleman, a fiscal conservative, told me he is right to oppose those bills. Civitas has recently written articles expressing concern over the positions that Republicans are now taking – seemingly becoming a more “recklessly spending” group, including one also running for the US Congress from District 3. Civitas policy analysts have spoken to conservative groups (including mine) and have spoken to me personally about this concern. They don’t understand what is going on.
We in the Tea Party movement and those of us who call ourselves true conservatives or constitutional conservatives know the Constitution, we understand what government can do and can’t do, we recognize abuse and over-reach and we especially see the widespread abuse and the utter ignorance and the willing disregard and the disgrace and dishonor by members of the federal government over the past few years. We know our history, we’ve studied the roots of our Constitution, our Bill of Rights, and even our common law. Twice a month we are educated, either on an issue, a history lesson, a civics or US government lesson, or a deep-dive into a court opinion. If we can be educated and informed, how much more of a responsibility do those elected to represent us have to also be educated and informed?
What is most important to us is that our representatives are so sufficiently informed on the Constitution they are sworn to support and uphold and principled and disciplined to do the right, the ethical, and the moral thing in passing and voting on laws that we can trust them to do the right thing by us and for the country (and for the “millions unborn and generations to come”) when we take our eyes off of them.
And that is what Michael does week after week and what he has done for over 6 years now as a state representative.
If you doubt Michael’s sincerity, just visit his office in Raleigh. It is full of books and articles that he uses to educate himself and to become fully informed on the many issues that he legislates on. For example, when he opposed a call for a Convention of States (and he was right to do so), the leading experts in the field (Publius Huldah, Don Fotheringham) were impressed by his breadth of knowledge and understanding of the topic.
When I spoke to him earlier this afternoon about some new bills that were introduced in the General Assembly, he talked to me a bit about his decision to leave the NC General Assembly and seek the seat in the US Congress. He said he looks forward bringing the same approach to government, to promoting constitutional conservative values, to respecting essential liberty rights such as free speech, religious liberty and the gun rights, to fiscal restraint as he took in Raleigh to DC, and he also looks forward to helping to educate fellow lawmakers on what the Constitution allows Congress to do and what the proper role of government is. He says the people need more representatives in Washington who have such knowledge rather than lack it.
In a flyer he recently put out, this is what he summarized as what he believes in and what his positions would be if elected to the US Congress:
Michael Speciale believes:
- The number one purpose of government is to protect the rights of the citizens.
- The right to life is not to be compromised.
- America must remain a free market economy.
- We must remain a Republic and Socialism must not be allowed to creep into our government.
- We must BUILD THE WALL! Immigration laws currently on the books must be enforced and the wall along the border must be built to close the holes where human trafficking and drug running is coming through.
- We must give the President the tools and the support that he needs to work with North Korea and other rogue nations to craft a lasting peace.
- We must strengthen our military, and we must stop using our Armed Forces as a proving ground for social experiments. They are a war fighting force and must remain so!
- Our religious freedoms must be maintained and strengthened, and that includes not being forced to do business that is against one’s religious beliefs.
- The US Constitution is not a living, breathing document as the left believes, but a firm binding agreement between the people and the government.
- Our rights are given to us by our Creator, not by government.
- The 2nd Amendment right to keep and bear arms is not negotiable. Nowhere in the US Constitution does it give the federal government any authority over our rights under the 2nd
I write this article from personal knowledge; I’ve known Michael for many years and I have been following what he has been doing in Raleigh since the day he was first sworn in. He is humble and down-to-earth. He is not an ambitious politician type, does not take credit for anything he did not do, and does not say things just to make himself a more attractive candidate. No vote is worth him selling out his principles.
Finally, to emphasize a point I made earlier, the key to knowing the worth of a candidate and to predict how he will vote and serve in government is to look at his history of voting. One’s voting record is the best evidence of what principles guide him in deciding whether the particular bill is something government is entitled to legislate on or should legislate on.
Again, Michael’s record gives assurances to all Tea Party types, to constitutional conservatives, and to other conservatives that he has the intuition of a true conservative and that he is principled and disciplined enough to remain true to its values.
VIDEO (Tax Day 2015) Michael speaks about the “Con-Con” (Constitutional Convention) Movement – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wOdzJ47uiug
APPENDIX: Legislation that NC Rep. Michael Speciale has Sponsored or Co-Sponsored:
HB 22 – Woman’s Right to Know / Ashley’s Law. (Speciale as Primary sponsor) — This bill requires that women/girls seeking an abortion are informed about the possibility of reversing that abortion when using the high-dose hormone product, RU486. Hence, the bill is referred to as the “RU486 Reversal Bill.” RU486 is an abortion pill regimen that uses a 2-step process: The woman takes 2 pills – Mifepristone and then misopristone. RU486 can effectively terminate a pregnancy that is less than 10 weeks along (70 days) by sloughing off the uterine wall and the fetus with it. RU486 (mifepristone, a progesterone blocker; progresterone being essential for the uterus to sustain a pregnancy) basically causes the lining of your uterus to shed — so your pregnancy can no longer continue because the egg will have nothing to stay attached to. Then, the misoprostol will cause uterine contractions to allow the uterus to be emptied. According to the bill: The following information must be provided to a woman before a medical abortion: (A). Immediately prior to administering the drug mifepristone, the physician or qualified health professional shall inform the woman that: (i) it is still possible to discontinue a medical abortion by not taking the prescribed misoprostol (the second drug in the abortion protocol) and taking progesterone to reverse the effects of the mifepristone and (ii) information on how, where, and from whom women can obtain assistance in discontinuing a medical abortion is available on the Department of Health and Human Services’ Internet Web site. And (B) Immediately prior to administering the drug misoprostol, the physician or qualified professional shall provide medical proof to the woman that fetal death has occurred.”
HB 28 – Prohibit Abortions After 13 Weeks. (Speciale as Primary sponsor) — This bill would prohibit abortions after 13 weeks, unless absolutely necessary to protect the life of the mother or for a verified medical emergency. (The current law prohibits abortion after 20 weeks). After 13 weeks, the physician or qualified health professional who recommends an abortion would have to explain that recommendation, as well as present his medical findings, to the state Department of Health and Human Services.
HB 53 (= SB 52) – A Second Chance for LIFE. (Speciale as co-sponsor) — HB 53 is the COMPANION BILL – S 52. HB 53 (and S 52), would require a physician who prescribes an abortion-inducing drug to a pregnant woman to provide the woman with written information about the possibility of reversing the drug-induced abortion through the administration of progesterone. The bills direct the State Department of Health & Human Services to design the written materials including the phone number for the Abortion Pill Reversal Hotline. (Refer also to HB 22).
HB 54 (= SB 51) – Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment (Speciale as co-sponsor) — HB 54 is the COMPANION BILL to S 51. HB54 would make it illegal for a physician to perform a “dismemberment abortion” in North Carolina. The bills define this gruesome procedure in the following manner: “With the intent to cause the death of an unborn child, to dismember a living unborn child and extract that child in pieces from the uterus through use of clamps, grasping forceps, tongs, scissors, or similar instruments that, through the convergence of two rigid levers, slice, crush, or grasp, or a combination of these, a portion of the unborn child’s body to cut or rip it off.”
The bills (S 51 and HB 54) make it unlawful “for any person to willfully perform a dismemberment abortion and thereby kill an unborn child, or attempt to perform a dismemberment abortion, unless it is necessary to prevent serious health risk to the unborn child’s mother.” The term “health risk” is narrowly defined to include circumstances necessary to avert the death of the mother or “serious risk of substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function, not including psychological or emotional conditions.” Both bills would allow the mother or father of the unborn child to seek civil penalties, including monetary damages and attorneys fees, against an individual who performs a dismemberment abortion.
HB 61 – Omnibus Gun Changes (aka, Permittless Conceal Carry). (Speciale as co-sponsor) — HB 61 is nearly identical to HB746 (“Permittless Conceal Carry”) which the Republican leadership in the NC Senate failed to move forward last year (2017). HB 61 provides: PART I: Section 14-415.35 of HB 61 makes it lawful to carry a concealed handgun in North Carolina without obtaining a conceal handgun permit (ie, “Permitless Conceal Carry”). All citizens are allowed to carry a concealed firearm without obtaining a permit as long as they meet certain common-sense criteria (to ensure the safety of others).
HB 63 – Protect North Carolina Workers Act. (Speciale as Primary sponsor) — HB 63 would (1) increase the number of employers who are required to participate in the federal E-Verify program; (2) would repeal the E-Verify exemption for temporary employees; and (3) would exclude farm workers from the definition of “employee” under Article 2 of Chapter 64 of the General Statutes. HB63 would increase the number of employers required to comply with E-Verify by changing the definition of “employer” as “any person, business entity, or other organization that transacts business in this State and that employs five or more employees in this State.” (Originally, for an employer to be required to participate in E-Verify he/it was required to employ at least 25 employees). Furthermore, the definition of “employer” includes the following exclusions: “The term does not include a farm worker, an independent contractor, or an individual who provides domestic service in a private home that is sporadic, irregular, or intermittent.”
HB 65 – Marriage Re-Affirmation Act. (Speciale as co-sponsor) — The full title: “An Act to Reaffirm the Vote oif the People of North Carolina to Adopt Article XIV, Section 6 of the Constitution of the State of North Carolina, Known as the Marriage Amendment, to State Why the Amendment Should be Upheld, to Declare Null and Void for the State of North Carolina the Obergefell v. Hodges Decision of the US Supreme Court, and to Call on the US Supreme Court to Overturn the Obergefell v. Hodges Decision.” The bill would do the following: (1) Reaffirm the Marriage Amendment, which would be added to the state Constitution (Article XIV, Section 6); (2) Nullify the Obergefell decision in North Carolina (unenforceable in NC); (3) Call on the Supreme Court to overturn the opinion; and (4) No same-sex marriage would be recognized in the state.
HB 73 – Civic Responsibility in Education. (Speciale as co-sponsor) — HB 73 would require the State Board of Education to include instruction on civic responsibility in the standard course of study (course curriculum) in Elementary, Middle, and High School. In Elementary, civic responsibility would be taught in the course “North Carolina History” and in Middle School, it would be taught in the course “North Carolina Geography.” In High School, civic responsibility would be taught in the course on the Founding Principles of the United States of America and the State of North Carolina.
HB 76 – School Safety Omnibus Bill. (Speciale as co-sponsor) — HB 76 would establish school safety requirements for all public schools – to require Threat Assessment Teams be established at each school with duties clearly defined.
HB 110 (= SB 90) – Protect Religious Meeting Places. (Speciale as co-sponsor) — HB 110 would allow concealed carry on the premises when religious meetings are being held.
HB 131 (= SB 71) – Repeal Map Act. (Speciale as co-sponsor) — This bill would repeal the Transportation Corridor Official Map Act
HB 135 – Government Immigration Compliance. (Speciale as Primary sponsor) — HB 135 would do several things, including: (1) Repeal Law Enforcement authority to use prohibited forms of identification (ie, illegals can no longer present a matricula consular identification as an acceptable form of ID); (2) Create additional incentives for local governments to comply with state laws related to immigration; (3) Create a private cause of action to remedy local government non-compliance with state immigration laws; (4) Prohibit the institutions of the UNC university system from becoming sanctuary universities; and (5) Direct the Department of Public Safety to enter into a Memorandum of Agreement with the US Department of Homeland Security.
HB 136 – Concealed Carry Permit Relapse / Revise Law. (Speciale as Primary sponsor) — HB 136 would revise the Concealed Carry Law, Sect. 1. G.S. 14-415.16(e) to read: “If the permittee does not apply to renew the permit prior to its expiration date, but does apply to renew the permit within 180 days after the permit expires, the sheriff shall waive the requirement of taking another firearms safety and training course. course so long as the permittee (i) completes a refresher course on the laws governing the use or carry of firearms in this State that is certified or sponsored by at least one of the entities listed in G.S. 14-415.12(a and (ii) submits documentation to the sheriff confirming the permittee completed the refresher course.
HB 160 – Rescind Calls for Constitutional Convention. (Speciale as Primary sponsor) — House Joint Resolution 160. This Resolution calls for the rescinding of all applications made by the NC General Assembly made during any session to the US Congress to call a Convention pursuant to Article V of the US Constitution for proposing one or more amendments to that Constitution and urging other states to do the same.
HB 172 – K-12 Academic Freedom Act. (Speciale as Primary sponsor) — This bill would REQUIRE the State Board of Education to adopt a policy of academic freedom. It would impart a DUTY to the SBOE to adopt a policy that SHALL include, at a minimum, the following elements:
(a) Students and educators are encouraged to respect the ideological, political, religious, or nonreligious viewpoints held by all persons in the classroom.
( b) Students and educators are permitted to engage in open dialogue, critical thinking, and the free exchange of ideas related to the content of the course.
(c) A student shall not be discriminated against or mocked for the student’s ideological, political, religious, or nonreligious viewpoints.
(d) An educator shall not take a student’s ideological, political, religious, or nonreligious viewpoints into account when evaluating the student’s performance.
(e) Educators may answer questions posed by students with openness and honesty.
HB 173 – Exempt Ocular Surgery from Certificate of Need (CON) Laws. (Speciale as Primary sponsor) — HB 172 would exempt ocular surgery and would provide limited exemption for limited exemption for gastrointestinal endoscopy procedures from the Certificate of Need requirement under NC law. The growing need of the elderly for ocular surgery requires this exemption.
HB 174 – Home School Tax Credit. (Speciale as Primary sponsor) — This bill would provide an income tax credit for those operating a home school.
HB 196 – Parental Consent for Sex Education. (Speciale as Primary sponsor) — HB 196 would require a student to have parental consent for any class that educates or attempts to education on reproductive health and safety. Each school year, before students may participate in any portion of (i) a program that pertains to or is intended to impart information or promote discussion or understanding in regard to the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS, or to the avoidance of out-of-wedlock pregnancy or (ii) a reproductive health and safety education program, whether developed by the State or by the local board of education, the parents and legal guardians of those students shall be given an opportunity to review the objectives and materials as provided in G.S. 115C-81.25(d). Local boards of education shall adopt policies to provide opportunities for parents and legal guardians to consent to their students’ participation in any or all of these programs. A student shall not participate in any program described in this subsection unless the student’s parent or legal guardian has consented to the student’s participation.
HB 215 – Justice for Rural Citizens Act. (Speciale as Primary sponsor) — HB 215 would remove the injustice of extra-extraterritorial planning jurisdiction by declaring that no city in the state may have or exercise planning jurisdiction outside its corporate limits. HB215 lists the reasons for removing such extra-territorial planning jurisdiction: “Whereas, under current State law, any city may exercise planning jurisdiction under Article 19 of Chapter 160A of the General Statutes within a defined area extending not more than one mile beyond its corporate limits; and Whereas, with the approval of the board of county commissioners with jurisdiction over the area, a city of 10,000 or more but less than 25,000 may exercise planning jurisdiction over an area extending not more than two miles beyond its corporate limits, and a city of 25,000 or more may exercise these powers over an area extending not more than three miles beyond its limits; and Whereas, the citizens who live in an area over which a city exercises extraterritorial planning jurisdiction are prohibited from voting in municipal elections; and Whereas, without the ability to vote in municipal elections to choose the persons who will make planning decisions about the areas in which they live, rural citizens do not have a say in some of the important matters that affect their lives and livelihoods.”
HB 216 – School Self-Defense Act. (Speciale as Primary sponsor) — HB 216 would authorize certain members of a school’s faculty or staff to carry a handgun on the school grounds to respond to acts of violence of imminent threat of violence.
HB314 – Constitutional Amendment – Remove Literacy Test. (Speciale as Primary sponsor – bipartisan bill) — HB 314 is a bi-partisan bill that would amend the state constitution by repealing (removing) Section 4 of Article VI which requires a person to pass a literacy test in order to register to vote in North Carolina.
HB328 – Same Reqs/Officials/Early Vote & Election Day. (Speciale as Primary Sponsor) — HB 328 would ensure that requirements for precinct officials (poll workers) will be the same for Early One-Stop Voting as they are on Election Day.
2017 – 2018 SESSION: (Bills Michael Speciale was the primary sponsor or co-sponsor)
HB 3 – Eminent Domain
HB 69 – Constitutional Carry Act (to amendment the state constitution to prohibit condemnation of private property except for public use)
HB 76 – Increase Fire & Rescue Pension Benefits
HB 145 – Repeal Constitutional Regulation of Concealed Weapons [this bill would remove the following language from Article I, Section 3 (“Militia & the Right to Bear Arms”): “nothing herein shall justify the practice of carrying concealed weapons, or prevent the General Assembly from enacting penal statutes against that practice”)
HB 146 – Citizens Allegiance to US Constitution [this bill would amend Article I, Section 5 (“Allegiance to the United States”) to remove the offending language, as underlined: “Every citizen of this State owes paramount allegiance to the Constitution and government of the United States, and no law or ordinance of the State in contravention or subversion thereof can have any binding force”]
HB 147 – Amend the NC State Constitution to Remove Article I, Section 4 (“Secession Prohibited”)
HB 148 – Amend the NC State Constitution to Remove the Literacy Requirement to Vote [this bill would remove Section 4 of Article VI (“Qualification for Registration”) of the state constitution which requires a person to pass a literacy test in order to register to vote – “Every person presenting himself for registration shall be able to read and write any section of the Constitution in the English language”]
HB 201 – NC Constitutional Carry Act (to protect a person’s right to carry a concealed weapon without a permit and to protect his right to purchase a handgun without a pistol purchase permit)
HB 266 – Terminate Agreement for Tolling of I-77
HB 306 – Require E-Verify for All Government Contracts
HB 417 – Actually Getting Rid of Common Core Act
HB 986 – Various Changes to Education Laws [passed and signed into law – SL 2018-32]
HB 1092 – Constitutional Amendment to Require Photo ID to Vote
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