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November 26, 2013


Trey Radel, my addicted 19th District (Florida) Congressman, is now in rehab here in Naples, Florida. He pled guilty to cocaine possession in the Federal District last week and was given supervised probation for a year – no jail time. I emailed a letter to the editor of the local newspaper within an hour of hearing about it demanding that he resign. A few days later the Naples Daily News editorially recommended that he resign. The Fort Myers News Press has since recommended that he resign. Both such newspapers had endorsed him for election last November. It appears Radel was not the only one who misled the voters, though the newspapers were misled by an addict whose addiction they apparently did not recognize.

The Fort Myers News Press has since last November had a ceremony in which they lauded our then newly elected congressman Trey Radel and gave him the presentation of “A person to watch” award. Such a presentation has proved prescient, but it was the Feds who were watching, hence his arrest, conviction and present rehab status. I think those who gave Radel the award had something else in mind at the time they conferred it, like this young guy is headed for the big time (rather than the big house).

Republican officials both at state and county levels have now publicly stated that Radel must resign. They are right if tardy in reciting his unfitness to serve. I would add that it goes beyond that. He can’t serve, even if otherwise out of rehab, cured and ready to go. He can’t serve because he will be the leper in the House. Not anyone on either side of the isle will have anything to do with him. He is spoiled goods; he is through as a political force. We the people of the 19th district cannot be represented by Trey Radel because he has nothing to offer on the national political stage in our behalf. It is clear as can be that we must have someone else serve in the seat he cannot serve, even for the remainder of this term. We are entitled to representation and Radel cannot give it to us. He has committed political suicide. An interim and/or new House member will probably be a Republican because of the strong Republican bias in this district, but that is not the point. Whoever it is (and I hope he/she is vetted better next time) is not the point. What is the point is that it cannot be Trey Radel. He is permanently incapable of serving, however well things went in rehab and however chastened he may genuinely be for the experience.

The Naples Daily News suggested editorially that Radel is in denial. That observation is accurate.  To even imagine that he can hold on to his seat after such an episode is pure fantasy. The refusal of House Speaker to refer this matter to the House Ethics Committee is telling. That Committee has the power to eject Radel from the House, a power lacking elsewhere so far as I have been able to tell. Boehner has often announced zero tolerance of any action by House members that would bring disrepute to the House of Representatives, and now he won’t refer this matter to the Ethics Committee. I for one think a convicted cocaine defendant who admits addiction brings “disrepute to the House.”

One is left to wonder why Boehner will not refer this case to the House Ethics Committee when the facts are plain to be seen – and even admitted. I have a theory as to the reason why, and it is this. Boehner has big friction in his caucus between mainline and tea party Republicans, and he is afraid to refer the case of the tea bagging Radel to the Committee for fear of further friction with slash and burn tea party activists,
so he will ride out the storm in the hope that it will go away. The storm isn’t going to go away.

Do what is right for your country, Mr. Speaker. Refer this case. We want representation here.  GERALD  E

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One Comment
  1. ‘At-a’ Boy! Keep on!

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