Michael Lee believes that we must attract new businesses and industries to our county by investing in infrastructure and education and by continuing to make North Carolina's tax structure more competitive. Smarter economic policies will result in higher-paying jobs for New Hanover County workers and a better quality of life for us all.
Governments at all levels need to tighten their belts as we move towards economic recovery. Michael Lee will stand up to special interests, and crack down on the waste, fraud, and abuse in Raleigh. Michael knows that a leaner government will enable us to further cut taxes and therefore spur job creation.
Michael Lee believes that we need a new vision for education in North Carolina – one that is decentralized, entrepreneurial and flexible. This will allow the teachers and managers of our public schools to have broader discretion in the way they educate our children. North Carolina has some of the best teachers in the world. Michael believes we need to let them teach and adequately compensate them for it. North Carolina must make sure it is competitive with base pay, health insurance and retirement benefits (total compensation package). Our system of education needs to create a real marketplace for education where funding follows students and is not simply deposited into schools. There are many states that are moving in this direction and North Carolina needs to be one of them in order to fulfill our responsibilities to our children, our community, and future generations.
Michael Lee knows that we have all heard about the use of taxpayer money over the years in monetary incentives granted to large corporations to locate in North Carolina. Incentives are like fire – when used correctly, they can have great benefits to us all – but when abused or used incorrectly, we get burned. The taxpayers have been burned over the years by the incorrect use and abuse of incentives. If used properly, incentives can be a powerful tool to attract good paying jobs. If we eliminate incentives, we will be at a dramatic disadvantage when trying to compete with neighboring states. Therefore, we need incentives, but we must use them wisely.
They must include objective measures and "clawback provisions," and the goal should be job creation. Michael knows we must create a better business environment for small and large businesses alike – but that does not mean we eliminate incentives – we just need to be smarter in how we use them.
I grew up in Dunn and am thankful for the virtues my parents instilled in me – honor, integrity, and hard work. As the youngest of four, I never shied away from a challenge and learned early on how to make my voice heard.
I graduated from Triton High School where I earned All-Conference honors as a wrestler and served on the student council.
Upon graduation, I attended UNC-Wilmington and received my bachelor's degree from UNC-Chapel Hill. From there, I moved back to Wilmington and worked with my family running several small businesses before heading to Wake Forest Law School.
After law school, I practiced law in Raleigh before moving back home to Wilmington to raise a family.
In 1999, I married the love of my life – Heidi. Heidi and I have been married for sixteen years and have four wonderful children – Miles, Sydney, Samuel and Sawyer. We live in Wilmington and are active members of St. John's Episcopal Church.
While living in Wilmington, I have been involved in charitable and civic organizations. I have served our community as an adjunct professor at UNCW, a member of Rotary, a volunteer with the North Carolina Society to Prevent Blindness, a graduate of the Wilmington Leadership Institute, a member of the Chamber of Commerce Local Government Affairs committee, a member of the City of Wilmington Board of Adjustment and the Chair of the New Hanover County Board of Adjustment. In addition, I was appointed by Governor McCrory to the NC Board of Transportation and by Senate Pro Tem Berger to the NC Port Authority where I served as Chairman.
Currently, I practice law at the Lee Law Firm, PLLC. I am a member of the North Carolina, South Carolina and New Hanover County Bar Associations. I am honored to have been named through the years by Business North Carolina Magazine as one of North Carolina's Legal Elite and selected by Law & Politics Magazine for inclusion in North Carolina Super Lawyers. In addition, I was named as one of North Carolina's Top 100 lawyers in the State and the only lawyer from Wilmington to receive this honor. Finally, I am deeply honored to have been included in The Best Lawyers in America Directory.