On the Record: Republican House candidate April Becker
This is an installment in a series of "On the Record" pieces highlighting the policy stances of candidates running for major offices in the 2022 Nevada election. Check back in the coming days and weeks for additional coverage. For more information on the policy positions of Becker’s opponent, Democratic Rep. Susie Lee, click here.
After narrowly losing a bid for state Senate in 2020, Las Vegas real estate attorney April Becker is hoping to unseat two-term Democratic Rep. Susie Lee in the race for Nevada’s Congressional District 3.
Throughout her campaign, Becker, a Republican, has railed against Democrats for high inflation, raised the alarm about excessive government spending and often tied Lee to unpopular national Democrats, including President Joe Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) — while also keeping a low profile about many of her own policy positions.
Becker declined to participate in an interview with The Nevada Independent, but answered several issue-focused questions in an email.
She’s garnered endorsements from a broad group of high-profile Republicans, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and U.S. Senate candidate and former Attorney General Adam Laxalt. But Becker remains significantly behind Lee in fundraising, and polling on the race indicates a tight battle between the two candidates.
Nevada’s 3rd Congressional District encompasses most of the Spring Valley area in Las Vegas and large chunks of rural Clark County. It has long been considered one of the state’s most competitive districts — even after last year’s redistricting process gave Democrats a greater voter registration advantage in the district. The race has been infused with significant spending from outside groups, as national Republicans view the district as a prime flip opportunity this cycle.
Explore the policy positions of Becker, the Republican District 3 nominee, below, or click on one of the following subjects to jump to a specific section:
Becker describes herself as “pro-life,” and she supports “exceptions for rape, incest, and the life of the mother,” according to her campaign website. But public information on her stance on abortion goes little beyond that.
In May, Becker’s campaign did not respond to a list of questions about abortion from The Nevada Independent, including about what specific restrictions on abortion she supports. Her campaign instead provided a short statement highlighting Becker’s support for state control of abortion policy.
During a July interview on Nevada Newsmakers, Becker expressed a similar position. Though she said she agrees with Roe v. Wade being overturned, Becker stuck primarily to voicing her support for leaving decisions about abortion laws to individual states.
In response to show host Sam Shad asking her how she feels about Nevada’s abortion laws, Becker instead talked about the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe in June and how the state’s abortion law was established. In 1990, nearly two-thirds of Nevada voters approved a ballot measure codifying state law allowing for abortions within 24 weeks of pregnancy. Only a majority vote of the people can overturn that law.
“It’s not up to politicians, at least in Nevada, for what abortion laws will be,” Becker said. “They’re on the books … This is the will of the people of Nevada.”
Lee’s campaign has attacked Becker relentlessly on the issue, spending a half-million dollars on an advertising campaign highlighting her endorsement from Nevada’s branch of National Right to Life, the largest national anti-abortion organization.
Lee has even alleged that Becker would vote in favor of a nationwide abortion ban, though Becker has refuted that attack. During the July interview, she said she would not support a national ban on abortion.
“I don't see how you can, in good faith, pass a law in Congress that takes that away from the states when the Supreme Court just ruled that it is to be left with the states,” she said.
Economy and inflation
Since last year, Becker has incessantly attacked Lee and Democrats for high inflation. Throughout the election cycle, she has identified the economy as a top issue for voters in District 3.
“Susie Lee helped cause RECORD gas prices and SOARING inflation,” she wrote in one fundraising email in June.
She often has accompanied those statements with calls to “retire” Pelosi, the top House Democrat, or to flip the House red this November, and she has blamed the inflation rate — which hit a 40-year high in June — on excessive government spending.
“We were warned before that if we continued to spend money that we did not have, that this would happen, and it's coming to fruition,” she said on Nevada Newsmakers in July.
When asked what steps she would take to reduce inflation if elected, Becker said in a statement that “the most important thing we can do … is to stop spending money we don’t have.” Earlier this week, the White House released an updated budget forecast, projecting a deficit of $1.032 trillion in the current fiscal year, an improvement of nearly $400 billion from previous projections released in March.
Despite Becker’s grievances with what she has described as “out-of-control socialist spending,” companies associated with Becker received hundreds of thousands of dollars in loans from the Paycheck Protection Program in 2020 and 2021. That includes nearly $150,000 for Weddington Management, a Las Vegas company registered with the state to Becker, and nearly $170,000 for Becker Gaming, which is associated with a member of Becker’s household.
Beyond her focus on high inflation, Becker has advocated broadly for “middle-class jobs.” She supports having “trade and vocational schools that fill blue-collar job needs, removing red tape that stifles innovation and growth and a tax structure that encourages our entrepreneurial spirit,” according to her website.
She also supports bringing “critical pieces of our supply chain back to our shores.” Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, global supply chain issues have contributed to rising prices.
In a statement, Becker emphasized her focus on energy independence for the country, saying that doing so could help lower the cost of fuel and drive down the prices of other goods.
Becker supports school choice. She described the policy as “a common-sense approach that allows children to escape failing schools and find a better fit for their individual needs,” according to her website.
School choice has had a tumultuous history in Nevada in the form of Education Savings Accounts (ESAs), a program that would allow parents to use state money to pay for private school tuition or other qualifying educational expenses rather than going toward public school funding for students. After ESAs were passed into law in 2015, court battles left the program with no funding, and attempts to revive and fund them have since failed.
Though Republicans generally argue such policies would expand parental choice, Democrats have largely opposed the efforts, arguing they would hurt the most vulnerable students by taking money away from public schools.
Becker has also called for more support for teachers. She has proposed increasing tax deductions for purchasing teaching supplies to 100 percent and directing money from “the educational bureaucracy” to instead “put more money in our teachers’ pockets.”
In a statement, Becker expanded on those ideas, saying that all funds spent by the U.S. Department of Education and by state and local governments “that funds bureaucrats and failed programs should immediately be reallocated directly to schools so we can pay teachers more.” She did not specify what bureaucratic costs might be cut.
“It’s time for a new approach,” she said.
In May, she told The Nevada Globe that “money is not the answer” when it comes to improving education. She added that she supports breaking up the Clark County School District, which serves more than 300,000 students, including children in Congressional District 3.
She also opposes Critical Race Theory, saying on her website that “divisive political arguments” should be kept out of schools.
Critical Race Theory is an academic concept primarily discussed in law schools regarding the idea that race is a social construct not limited to individuals and that is embedded in the country’s legal systems and policies. Conservatives have rallied to oppose any teaching associated with the concept since last year, fearing that it casts white people as oppressors and people of color as victims of that oppression.
In 2020, following a narrow loss in a state Senate race, Becker sought a court-ordered new election, echoing commonly iterated allegations of voter fraud.
Becker’s petition — which came after she lost by 631 votes to Democratic Senate Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro — alleged issues with the signature-verification machines used in Clark County.
Less than a month later, a Clark County judge dismissed the case, saying Becker “put forth no evidence that any discrepancies in Senate District 6 would affect the outcome of the election.”
Since then, Becker has recently expressed a higher level of confidence in the state’s election system.
“I've been assured that the voter rolls have been cleaned up,” Becker said on Nevada Newsmakers in July. “I don't think in 2020 we were ready for a universal mail-ballot election … If I didn't feel comfortable with the process, I wouldn't be doing it.”
Specifically, Becker has taken issue with Clark County Registrar Joe Gloria not inactivating certain voters’ registrations in 2020.
“Gloria has worked to meet those deadlines this election cycle, which will help ensure that mail ballots go to their proper place,” she said in a statement. “It is encouraging that the office is taking the necessary steps to clean up our voter rolls.”
“I definitely think there were a lot of irregularities in my election,” she told The Nevada Globe in May. “The Democrats already had people on the ground ready to go and ballot harvest. They cheated – 100 percent. They cheated.”
Since 2020, Nevada law has allowed a person authorized by the voter to return a mail ballot at the request of the voter, a previously banned practice that is known as ballot harvesting or ballot collection.
Becker supports banning that process, which she describes as a “dangerous practice,” and favors implementing voter ID requirements, according to her website. She also views universal mail balloting as “the least secure way to vote,” she said in a statement.
Though Becker’s website makes no mention of the environment or climate, she said in a statement that she looks forward to joining the Conservative Climate Caucus, if elected.
“The caucus looks to find reasonable solutions to our problems,” she said. “Additionally, I look forward to bringing a new perspective to our water crisis.”
Becker highlighted issues with the over-allocation of Colorado River water — the river’s water users are legally entitled to more water each year than actually flows through the river — and said California is drawing more than its fair share from Lake Mead. Nevada, California and other states in the Colorado River basin are in the midst of negotiations to cut water use.
She also addressed her position on solar energy in an interview with The Nevada Globe in May.
She primarily took issue with the cost and resources required to implement solar energy, noting “water is such an issue here.”
“No one seems to really want to help the environment because if they did, they would look at all the costs associated with it — the cost of wildlife, water and land,” she told The Nevada Globe. “All of these resources have costs associated with them. How do you recycle windmills and solar panels? No one I have heard has had an environmentally friendly answer to that.”
Recent studies on the costs of producing electricity have found wind and solar power are the cheapest forms of energy. Nuclear, solar and wind power are also generally considered cleaner for the environment, in terms of air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Still, the U.S. remains predominantly reliant on energy production from fossil fuels, including petroleum, natural gas and coal.
Becker also supports American energy independence, and on her website, she states her opposition to the Biden administration’s decisions to cancel pipeline projects and pause oil and gas leases.
In 2020, during her run for state Senate, Becker received an endorsement from the National Rifle Association, though she has yet to be endorsed by the group in this election cycle.
This year, she has placed little focus on firearms, but Becker states on her website that she has “been a responsible firearm owner for years” and she supports “an individual’s 2nd Amendment right to protect and defend themselves.”
Becker advocates for what she describes as “patient first health care solutions,” including “allowing individuals to purchase insurance plans that best fit their needs” and covering pre-existing conditions, according to her website.
She supports “price transparency in health care,” arguing such transparency will “lead to more competition and lower prices,” and she’s a proponent of health care savings accounts.
“Individuals should also be allowed to save tax-free, unlimited funds in a Health Savings Account for emergencies,” her website states.
There are existing provisions in place that allow people to save untaxed dollars in Health Savings Accounts, though these accounts are limited to individuals with specific health care plans, and annual contributions are capped at $3,650 for self-only coverage.
Becker has made border security one of the key tenets of her campaign.
In a statement, Becker said “all immigration solutions start with increasing border security,” adding that after that, the country can then look to “find a solution for children brought here through no fault of their own.”
She supports completing the wall at the border with Mexico, the construction of which was a priority for former President Donald Trump.
“We need to look at that first right now because I just see our border as porous,” she said on Nevada Newsmakers in July. “People are coming over; there's no security whatsoever.”
In the current federal fiscal year, running from October 2021 to September 2022, monthly encounters at the country’s southwest land border between the U.S. and Mexico are more than twice as high than they were three years ago. Migrant encounters refer to either apprehensions, in which migrants are taken into custody, or expulsions, in which migrants are immediately expelled from the country.
Becker also linked her border concerns with increased amounts of fentanyl, a synthetic opioid lethal in high doses, coming into the country. Fentanyl seizures at the southern border have spiked in recent years, according to the Department of Justice, though it is unknown how much of the drug has passed through the border undetected.
“There's thousands of people that are just crossing over our borders, and we don't know who they are, we don't know why they're here,” she said on Nevada Newsmakers in January.
Becker also claims on her website that “mass immigration drives down wages and leads to businesses’ cutting corners and taking advantage of individuals.”
Becker has taken a similar tack to talking about crime as Trump, arguing in one June fundraising email that “crime is out of control.”
During a January interview on Nevada Newsmakers, Becker took issue with crime rates in cities with Democratic leaders.
“In the cities that are run by Democrat leaders, the crime has gone up ridiculously,” she said. “People are frightened. It's usually the areas that they need the police the most, they can't afford their own security. It’s great if you live in a gated, guard-gated community, but a lot of people, majority of people, don't. And that's not fair. They depend on the police to protect them.”
In Nevada, and urban Clark County, violent and property crimes have broadly declined from higher levels recorded only several years ago, though some specific crimes, including murders, have bucked that trend.
In a statement, Becker added that the country “cannot have a culture coming from DC that puts criminals ahead of our law enforcement.” She said it was “unacceptable” for “defunding the police” to be “a rallying cry for some in Congress.”
Calls to “defund the police,” a phrase that gained popularity amid social justice protests in the summer of 2020 following the police killing of George Floyd, have primarily been limited to a small number of progressive Democratic representatives.
Becker also notes on her website that she “will never accept support from an organization that seeks to defund our police.”
She has been endorsed by the National Association of Police Organizations, which represents more than 241,000 law enforcement officers nationally, and the Public Safety Alliance of Nevada, which includes the union representing officers at the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. Becker’s opponent, Lee, has been endorsed by the Nevada Law Enforcement Coalition.
Becker has highlighted the 2015 passage of the Commerce Tax as one of the key reasons she first got involved in politics, describing it as the “largest tax increase in the history of our state,” on Nevada Newsmakers in January. The Commerce Tax was one of three pieces includes in the state’s largest-ever tax hike.
The Commerce Tax — which was approved by a Republican governor and Republican-majority Legislature in 2015 — imposes an annual tax on businesses with more than $4 million in gross Nevada revenue in a year. The tax accounts for less than 5 percent of the state’s general fund revenues, with sales taxes and a gaming tax bringing in significantly more revenue each year.
Becker has signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, meaning she has vowed to “oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rates for individuals and/or businesses.”
In an August fundraising email, Becker also criticized the Inflation Reduction Act because of funding included for 87,000 new IRS agents, saying those agents will be used to “harass middle class Americans about their taxes.”
The IRS has said many of those new workers will be hired over the coming decade to replace much of its existing workforce. New funding for the IRS from the federal bill is also meant to help decrease the massive gap between taxes legally owed and taxes paid by enforcing tax compliance.
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