(Fargo, ND) -- Bismarck physician Rick Becker says the United States is a patient that needs to be cured from the “woke agenda” and is hoping his candidacy will be just what the doctor ordered.
Becker announced, on January 22nd, that he is entering the race for North Dakota’s lone congressional seat which is being vacated with Kelly Armstrong’s decision to pursue the governor’s chair. It’s the second time in the last three years that Becker has tried to earn a role in D.C., after running for Senate in 2022, and losing as an independent.
Becker becomes the third person to enter the race, joining Democrat Trygve Hammer, and former state senator Tom Campbell, who tells KTGO Radio (AM 1090 and FM 92.7) that he will run, but has yet to formally announce.
Becker says the Republican Party has to have a tougher stance on issues like spending, heath freedom, and border security.
“DC is not a great place to be, in my opinion. Very swampy,” Becker tells KTGO Radio. “And there is a lot of gridlock and a lot of contention and a lot of vitriol. But all of that does not change the fact that, in America, we are in a really, really tough spot. We've been going in the wrong direction for a long time. We're getting to a point where I'm not sure if we can turn the ship around. My hope is we can. But if we are going to, we need to have people in D.C. that are like myself, that are fighters that will stand firm, that are going to have a backbone, that are not going to have any concern about reelection chances in the back of their mind. They're not even thinking about it. We need to focus on doing what's right, regardless. I've been called a bull in a China shop. Sure, you bet. We cannot stand for the status quo and expect to survive as a nation. The only way to stop the status quo is to be a little bit of a bull in a China shop.”
Becker served in the state House from 2013 to 2022. There, he helped launch the Bastiat Caucus, a conservative group of Republicans who supported lower taxes and spending. He knows that making an impact in a group of 435 would be a taller order.
“My experience, the 10 years I had in the state legislature, I think is a good roadmap on how to do that. When I started in 2013, the conservatives were not organized at all. And it's far different now. The makeup of the legislature is different. The tone of the legislature is different. And a person can have an impact, even if they're one of many. The key is to hold others accountable including yourself and to stand firm on principle. Now, going into the U.S. Congress, I can team up with the likes of Jim Jordan and Chip Roy and Thomas Massey, several others. And we can form a critical mass where not only are we explaining to the voters in North Dakota, and America, these principles we have, but also what's important, why we're voting the way we are, why we are wanting to move Congress in this direction. The court of public opinion is a very, very important thing to try and master. But that critical mass in Congress can help move the ball. There are a lot of things that go on in the background. How many bills a person passes in the U.S. Congress is only one tiny bit. It's a tip of the iceberg as to what actually goes on. So, a person like myself can make a tremendous difference.”
What would be his biggest objectives if he wins a term in D.C.?
“Well, I'd like to be instrumental in once and for all, finally getting a secure southern border. I would like to be instrumental in stopping the corruption and starting to have the bureaucracy in D.C. held accountable. Jim Jordan's great at that. Senator Rand Paul is great at that. You know Anthony Fauci with COVID should have been fired without pension, possibly put in jail. We've got these bureaucrats that come before Congress, and they are so contemptible. They lie to Congress without fear of any penalty, of any repercussions. And many times, Congress has abrogated their responsibilities to these executive branch agencies, these regulatory agencies, and they're just on their own. They're going crazy. This is not how the Constitution was set up. These people need to be reigned in. They need to be held accountable. So that's another one.”
“A third one is to finally get a handle on our deficit spending. Senator Rand Paul and Senator Mike Lee both have had really great plans to turn this situation around where we are in so much severe debt. It'll take time; five to ten years before we can get out of deficit spending, but we need to have the backbone to do that. Those three things are going to be critical. The last one that I would suggest is this woke ideology that we see being woven into just about every bill that passes. We see this woke ideology, the training on transgenderism, there's so much that needs to be stripped out. We need to be unafraid to say, no, as long as this crap is in this bill, I will not vote for it. And if others join me, the bill's not going to pass until you strip that stuff out. That's how we get bills passed that the people of North Dakota would approve of.”
Becker says he’s a strong supporter of law enforcement, but individual rights also need to be protected.
“I have a very undeserved reputation of being anti-law enforcement. Their job is to enforce the law, but where I have sort of gotten this reputation, which is so totally wrong, is from the lobbyists and some of the higher up administrators in law enforcement because of things that I pushed against regarding confidential informant reform. It's not anti-law enforcement. It's just protecting people requiring a warrant if law enforcement is going to use a drone to do surveillance on a person. That's not anti-law enforcement, that's just trying to protect people's fourth and fifth amendments. (Take) civil asset forfeiture. That was my bill, which by the way, Tom Campbell voted against, where the state can take away your property and auction it off and keep the profit even if you haven't been charged or convicted of a crime. So those types of things, that's not anti-law enforcement at all; it's pro citizen.”
Becker says he’s not drawing any conclusions yet from the border security legislation working its way through Congress. But he does believe that small wins in this area won’t be enough and that Republicans in D.C. have to hold out for stronger victories. He says it wouldn’t matter to him if the Biden Administration gets credit for passage of a bill, if it was the right legislation for America.
In regard to elected officials going to D.C. and coming out in a far superior financial position, Becker says the most important thing is to conduct yourself with integrity.
“I wouldn't do insider trading. I don't know how someone goes into Congress without any wealth, and then comes out with a great degree of wealth unless they're cutting deals and doing insider trading. I'm not going to do any of that. I expect that I will come out of Congress poorer than I went in because I'm giving up my plastic surgery career…This should be a service to the people of their state. And that's it. You shouldn't come away with more money than you got in there with.”
Back in North Dakota, Becker also is leading a proposed 2024 state-wide ballot initiative that would eliminate local property taxes. The committee is currently gathering signatures from North Dakota residents, in hopes of meet state requirements to put the measure on the June or November ballots. Some have said the idea has merit, but should only be limited to residential parcels and not commercial property or farm land.
“If we limit it to the primary residence, it sounds good, but we will miss out on the huge economic benefit we'll have by eliminating all property tax. When you also offer it for agriculture and for commercial, you're really churning the economy of North Dakota to a great degree. The other thing is, by simply applying this only to the primary residence, you're leaving the whole property tax mechanism in place; the valuation, the mills, all of that, which we have no control over, if you leave that system in place, and then you’re putting the burden on the rest of it. So commercial and agriculture is going to skyrocket. We can pay for it with the extra money that the state has, and people will see the biggest tax relief in their entire lives. And we will get tax reform beyond anything that the legislature has even thought about doing.”
The issue of campaign contributions is particularly important to Republicans, especially those who fear influence from national groups whose interests may conflict with conservative principles. Becker says he understands the concern but isn’t only looking for support from people who back every piece of his agenda.
“My general policy has been that I will accept money from a lot of people that I disagree with. I'm not going to rake in money, though, because they know they're not going to influence me, so I don't get those donations. Bill Gates is not going to donate to me because I am not going to do what he wants. In fact, I am likely going to do what he doesn't want.”
When it comes to medical and health matters, Becker says he will be a fierce advocate for personal freedom.
“Personal bodily autonomy is very, very important. I was fighting that fight all throughout the COVID rampage. I disagreed with, obviously Anthony Fauci who should be in jail, but also Governor Burgum. The whole approach was incorrect. The people that were forced to take the vaccine should be compensated, by the way. But just to let you know, it was my amendment that was put on the bill that passed, that prohibits vaccine passports in the state of North Dakota. I also had bills to end the state of emergency to take away the power of the governor to close businesses. And keep in mind that the legislature passed a bill to prohibit a statewide mask mandate, which governor Burgum vetoed. So you've got a partner in that fight. 100%. I ran my clinic every day, and we did not wear masks except on two occasions when patients requested us to.”