Florida Congressman Trey Radel said Thursday that he will stay in office, shortly after he left a Naples rehab facility.
Radel, who is on leave from Congress, said he plans to keep serving his constituents, but he would not give a timeframe for his return to Washington.
“Politics and re-election are the absolute last thing on my mind right now," he said in a news conference at his Cape Coral office.
Radel entered the Hazelden addiction treatment facility in Naples on Nov. 21 after he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor cocaine possession charge. But he said Thursday that he is working to recover one day at a time as he is treated for alcoholism.
“More tangibly, here’s exactly what I know: alcohol does not work for me," Radel said. "It was selfishly fun, but it became a problem, and it led to poor choices, and more than that, missed opportunities. It never interfered with my congressional obligations, but it let 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.”
Radel said that he used cocaine a handful of times.
Radel, a freshman Republican who represents the 19th Congressional District in southwest Florida, thanked members of the public for their prayers, support and encouragement.
“While I’m thankful, I am still remorseful. I made a mistake, and I know that. I let you down. I let our country down. And again for that, I am sorry," Radel said. "I will do everything in my power to make it up and to regain your trust.”
Radel said he is focused on his family, rebuilding trust with his constituents and having a great new year.
The House Ethics Committee is investigating Radel.
"It is my hope, through this process, I will come out a better man. I will work hard to gain back the trust and support of my constituents, friends and most importantly, my family," Radel said in a statement when he entered rehab.