TIME

Congressman Resigns After Cocaine Bust

Rep. Radel pauses as he meets with local media during a news conference in Cape Coral
Reuters

Florida Republican Representative Trey Radel, who pleaded guilty to cocaine possession last year, said Monday that he's decided to step down, explaining in a letter his "struggles" make it impossible to serve

Florida Republican Rep. Trey Radel, the freshman lawmaker who pleaded guilty to cocaine possession last year and then briefly entered rehab, announced his resignation from Congress on Monday.

Radel’s formal resignation letter didn’t mention his guilty plea to cocaine possession in November, but said his “struggles” made it impossible to serve effectively, despite dealing with “those issues on a personal level.” Letters to House Speaker John Boehner and Florida Gov. Rick Scott said his resignation would take effect at 6:30 p.m. on Monday.

“Regardless of some personal struggles in 2013, this year has already been tremendously positive as I focus on my health, family and faith,” Radel wrote. “Unfortunately, some of my struggles had serious consequences. While I have dealt with those issues on a personal level, it is my belief that professionally I cannot fully and effectively serve as a United States Representative to the place I love and call home, Southwest Florida.”

Radel was caught purchasing $250 of cocaine from an undercover police officer in October, and claimed he was using the drug to help treat his alcoholism.After completing rehab in December, Radel initially vowed he would not step aside, despite resignation calls from fellow Republicans, including Scott.

See more excerpts from Radel’s resignation letter below.

I hereby submit this letter of resignation as the Representative of the 19th District of Florida, effective 6:30 p.m., Eastern Standard Time, January 27, 2014.

On a personal note, Mr. Speaker, to you and our colleagues from both parties, I thank you. Thank you for the tremendous support and encouragement. Oftentimes in Congress, our personal relationships and successes are overshadowed by intense but meaningful and necessary debate. However, I leave the House of Representatives with friendships and memories of great men and women dedicated to helping and improving the lives of our fellow Americans.

As an eternal optimist, I know there are great things in store for our country when we find ways to work together. Whether it is as a father, a husband, or in any future endeavor, I hope to contribute what I can to better our country in the years to come.”

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