|Member of the North Dakota House of Representatives|
from the 7th district
|Assumed office |
December 1, 2012
|Alma mater||University of North Dakota (BS)|
University of North Dakota (MD)
Becker is a plastic surgeon and businessman with several commercial developments. He was elected to represent District 7 in the North Dakota House in 2012, and was reelected to a four-year term in 2014. Becker has often been cited as among the top fiscal conservatives in the House. He was a candidate for Governor of North Dakota in the 2016 gubernatorial election. He considered running in the run for the US Senate against incumbent Heidi Heitkamp, but ultimately decided against a run, and is instead planning to run for reelection to the State House. Becker has also held a position on the Bismarck Planning and Zoning Commission.
He is often described as a conservative or libertarian. Becker has described himself as "...many things: a classical liberal, libertarian, fiscal conservative, laissez-faire capitalist. There are many things that you can refer to me as." Becker has voluntarily requested officials to rescind certain benefits and tax breaks his businesses are eligible for because he doesn't agree with them. In an interview, Becker stated, "I'm a very vocal opponent to most government incentive programs. I'm very much a believer in the free market." In 2017, he said that North Dakota has too many colleges, saying the state board of higher education should look into "re-purposing some of the campuses."
63rd legislative session
During his first session in 2013, Becker gained notoriety for being a staunch fiscal hawk and civil libertarian. He formed the Bastiat Caucus, named after the political philosopher Frédéric Bastiat. Eventually, the group grew to several dozen members of the North Dakota House, often holding regular meetings to organize a unified, conservative front on key votes.
64th legislative session
During the 2015 legislative session, Becker supported Division A of HB 1461, which would have pulled North Dakota out of the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, generally seen as a move to get the state out of the Common Core standards. The bill narrowly failed. Becker was the main force courting support for the bill, which Governor Jack Dalrymple, Superintendent of Public Instruction Kirsten Baesler, and Republican Party leadership opposed.
Becker supported a bill which would have brought the state income tax down to a 0% rate for an extended tax holiday for residents paying those taxes. His bill to ban DUI checkpoints garnered significant controversy but ultimately failed.
65th legislative session
In 2017, Becker and others decided to provide a more organized, public presence for their Bastiat Caucus in order to disseminate information to the public about key legislation from Caucus members. This effort included an aggressive social media campaign, website and grassroots organizing headed by his former gubernatorial campaign staff. Some in the media reported division amongst the ranks of the Republican Party and efforts by leadership to thwart Becker's legislative initiatives.
Becker introduced 17 bills during the 2017 legislative session, more than most representatives. His "constitutional carry" bill, which would allow otherwise law-abiding citizens to carry concealed weapons without a permit generated significant interest and attention. He also introduced legislation on free speech protections on college campuses that would eliminate "safe spaces" and a bill decriminalizing marijuana. In the aftermath of the 2015 legislative battle over getting out of Common Core in North Dakota and an electoral challenge to Superintendent of Public Instruction, Kirsten Baesler, Becker decided to put forward legislation to provide school choice in North Dakota. His bill, which would establish education savings accounts, was introduced.
2016 gubernatorial campaign
On November 11, 2015, in an online video announcement, Becker became the first candidate to announce his candidacy in the 2016 North Dakota gubernatorial election. The campaign sought the endorsement of the Republican Party at its state convention, held in Fargo in April 2016. He publicly pledged to not proceed past the convention without support from the Party. Becker was endorsed by many of the top conservatives in the legislature, including Majority Caucus Leader Scott Louser. He was also endorsed by the National Association for Gun Rights and by Congressman and former presidential candidate Ron Paul.
At the State Republican Convention, Becker came in second to Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem on a first and second ballot. Eventually Stenehjem won in a close race over Becker. Doug Burgum, who came in a distant third at the convention, eventually defeated Stenehjem in the June 14 Republican primary.
Despite losing the Republican gubernatorial endorsement, Becker received more votes as a delegate to the Republican National Convention than anyone else, including the sitting Governor Jack Dalrymple and Senator John Hoeven.
- 2012 Race for North Dakota's House of Representatives– District 07
- Voters to choose two:
Name Votes Percent Outcome Jason D. Dockter, (R). 4,374 33.20% Won Rick Becker, (R). 4,291 32.57% Won Tom Kelsh, (D). 2,351 17.84% Lost Warren D. Larson,(D). 2,143 16.26% Lost
- 2014 Race for North Dakota's House of Representatives– District 07
- Voters to choose two:
Name Votes Percent Outcome Jason D. Dockter, (R). 4,624 49.62% Won Rick Becker, (R). 4,569 49.03% Won Write-ins 125 1.34% Lost
2016 North Dakota Republican State Convention
- First Convention Ballot
- Delegates to choose one, all candidates remain on ballot after first round, starting third round of voting, lowest vote-getter would be removed, first candidate to receive 50%+1 wins:
Name Votes Percent Outcome Wayne Stenehjem 769 47.97% proceeded to 2nd ballot Rick Becker 587 36.61% proceeded to 2nd ballot Doug Burgum 247 15.40% proceeded to 2nd ballot
- Second Convention Ballot
Name Votes Percent Outcome Wayne Stenehjem 823 51.50% received NDGOP endorsement Rick Becker 618 38.67% withdrew Doug Burgum 157 9.82% proceeded to Republican primary ballot
Potential 2018 U.S. Senate campaign
Becker was a potential candidate in the U.S. Senate race in 2018 against incumbent Democrat Heidi Heitkamp. There were strong expectations he would shore up support from the Party's more conservative and libertarian grassroots.[unreliable source?]
Becker spent some of the spring and summer of 2017 preparing for a possible Senate run. In April, he traveled to Washington, D.C., to meet with various groups and elected officials. On July 6, he announced on Facebook that he would be speaking across the state. During one of those talks, on August 2 before Fargo Republicans, he urged the party to do a better job of staying true to their "conservative roots". Congressman Kevin Cramer was widely considered the top prospective candidate, but Becker stated his decision to run would not be based upon Cramer's decision.
On January 2, Becker announced on Facebook that he would not challenge Senator Heidi Heitkamp. Instead, he announced his plans to seek reelection to the state house, stating, "I know I can make a difference in North Dakota, and I am worried about giving up such an important opportunity and responsibility".
- "Rep. Rick Becker running for governor". The Bismarck Tribune. Retrieved September 29, 2015.
- "State lawmaker from Bismarck running for governor". Grand Forks Herald. September 23, 2015. Retrieved September 26, 2015.
- Port, Rob. "Republican Gubernatorial Candidate Rick Becker Changes His Mind On Abortion Bill, Focuses On Fiscal Issues". Say Anything Blog. Rob Port. Retrieved 18 March 2019.
- "Effort to eliminate Common Core defeated in House". Bismarck Tribune. Retrieved November 11, 2015.
- "ND lawmakers hear five hours of arguments on bill to withdraw..." INFORUM. Retrieved November 11, 2015.
- Becker, Rick. "Rep. Rick Becker: In Defense Of Eliminating The Income Tax - Say Anything Blog". Say Anything. Retrieved November 11, 2015.
- "The new N.D.? A tight fist and an open heart".
- "Bastiat Caucus".
- "Bill would allow gun owners to conceal and carry without a permit in North Dakota".
- "ND bill would take aim at 'safe spaces' in higher ed".
- "Marijuana decriminalization may not have intended results".
- Nowatzki, Mike. "Amid criticism, Baesler announces plans to replace Common Core standards in North Dakota". Grand Forks Herald. Grand Forks Herald and Forum Communications Company. Retrieved 18 March 2019.
- "Education savings account bill generates opposition".
- Rick Becker for Governor - Announcement Video, YouTube, retrieved 2015-11-11