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Rep. Trey Radel Facing Drug Charges

Rep. Trey Radel Facing Drug Charges

By Caitlin Huey-Burns - November 19, 2013

Florida Republican Rep. Trey Radel has been charged with cocaine possession and is scheduled to appear in court on Wednesday.

The freshman lawmaker admitted that he has struggled with alcoholism and “this led to an extremely irresponsible choice.” He said he would seek treatment.

In a statement released shortly after news of the misdemeanor drug offense was reported, first by Politico, he added, “As the father of a young son and a husband to a loving wife, I need to get help so I can be a better man for both of them.”

The 37-year-old lawmaker did not indicate if he would resign the Southwest Florida seat he won in 2012, replacing Connie Mack (who ran unsuccessfully for the Senate). But he said the charge “offers me an opportunity to seek treatment and counseling. I know I have a problem and will do whatever is necessary to overcome it, hopefully setting an example for others struggling with this disease.”

The charge carries a maximum sentence of 180 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.

A spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner responded to the news by saying that members of Congress “should be held to the highest standards, and the alleged crime will be handled by the courts. Beyond that, this is between Rep. Radel, his family, and his constituents."

Before coming to Congress, Radel worked as a journalist and as a conservative talk radio host.

Radel sits on the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and the Foreign Affairs Committee. He is also a frequent panelist at the monthly “Conversations With Conservatives,” hosted by the Heritage Foundation for reporters and bloggers.

Radel has also described himself as a “hip-hop conservative” and gained attention for tweeting about Jay-Z’s new album earlier this year. 

Caitlin Huey-Burns is a congressional reporter for RealClearPolitics. She can be reached at chueyburns@realclearpolitics.com. Follow her on Twitter @CHueyBurnsRCP.

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