Bismarck Rep. Rick Becker sends letter to governor to apply for State Health Officer
BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - North Dakota is now searching for its fourth state health officer since the pandemic began. One of Gov. Doug Burgum’s, R-N.D., biggest critics has thrown his hat into the ring.
Rep. Rick Becker, R-Bismarck, wrote a letter applying for the job, including a 10-point plan on how he’d handle the pandemic.
Rick Becker is a UND School of Medicine graduate and a plastic surgeon who practices in Bismarck. He’s calling his plan Freedom Not Fear ND.
Burgum has repeatedly touted mass testing and contact tracing to slow the spread of covid-19, while Becker’s plan would eliminate both. He would also eliminate all mask mandates, even in schools.
“What we’re seeing is a lot of stuff not based in reason, not based in studies, and not based in any evidence to changing the net effect of the disease,” said Becker.
Centers for Disease Control leaders say studies have shown mask wearing slows the spread of the virus. Still, Becker says mask wearing should be left to personal choice.
“If it’s our obligation, our responsibility to alter our behavior, so that we can’t contribute to anyone else becoming ill, where’s the stopping point?” said Becker.
Becker argues nursing homes should be allowed to set up wings separating those who want stricter isolation from those who want to be allowed to see loved ones.
He says private businesses should be allowed to operate as they see fit, and no criminal penalties should be implemented on those who don’t follow Department of Health Guidelines. His rationales are, quote, “Freedom,” and, “Because we aren’t China,” respectively.
A spokesman for Governor Burgum says Becker hasn’t applied through the job posting on the state’s website, adding that as a practice, the office doesn’t comment on applicants. Becker says he would go through the official channels if the governor showed interest.
Copyright 2020 KFYR. All rights reserved.