Rep. Trey Radel has left a drug rehabilitation clinic and says he is 'excited' to continue with his political career.
"I'm excited to begin this process of rebuilding your trust and doing what you elected me to do," the Florida Republican said
at a news conference Thursday.
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Radel pleaded guilty to possession
of cocaine in November after he was caught buying drugs from an undercover agent near Dupont Circle in Washington, D.C.
He entered drug rehab on Nov. 21, taking a short leave of absence from the House, where he represents a district stretching from Fort Myers to Naples.
At the news conference Thursday, Radel said he was grateful for his support system, calling it "nothing short of amazing," and expressed his remorse, saying, "I let my country down, and again for that I am sorry."
The freshman congressman acknowledged he is struggling with an alcohol problem.
"Alcohol does not work for me," Radel said. "It was selfishly fun, but it became a problem when it led to poor choices and more than that missed opportunities."
He continued, "It never interfered with my congressional obligations, but it led me down a path that slowly but surely chipped away at my relationship with my wife, my child, and God. And it led to really bad decisions which put me here today."
When asked if he would run again next year, Radel responded, "Politics and re-election are the absolute last thing on my mind right now."
Meanwhile, the House Ethics Committee
is investigating the situation, and Radel pledged to "cooperate" with that inquest "in every absolute possible way that I can."
Political pundits in Washington have expressed doubt that Radel
can survive the scandal, reports Politico, noting that he could have a tough primary challenge in August from a number of local Republicans.
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