After a stay in rehab, GOP's Trey Radel is ready to return to Congress

Rep. Radel says he's looking forward to "getting back to work with a much clearer head and positive thoughts"

Published January 3, 2014 9:18PM (EST)

Little more than six weeks after pleading guilty to possession of cocaine, and after a 28-day stay with an in-patient treatment program, Tea Party-backed GOP Rep. Trey Radel said in an interview that he was ready to return to Congress in 2014.

"Undoubtedly, the first thing I have to do is restore a lot of trust and make amends, and only then can I return to what I love doing and what I was elected to do," Radel said. "I do look forward to getting back to work with a much clearer head and positive thoughts moving forward. I am extremely sorry for the heartache and pain that I've caused personally and professionally, and I'm going to work to make that up. I intend on having a successful year."

The report, which described Radel as sounding "contrite and optimistic," also found that the Florida congressman has already begun reaching out to select members of Congress in an effort to smooth his transition.

As to whether Radel was listening to those calling for his resignation — a group including not only Democrats but Republicans like Florida Governor Rick Scott — Radel said his reelection was "not even a thought in my mind at all, period. I will when I feel that I am ready. Right now, the most important things for me are God and family, and with that I'm excited to get back to work to rebuild trust and continue doing the work for the people."

By Elias Isquith

Elias Isquith is a former Salon staff writer.

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Cocaine Congress Drugs Florida Rehab Republican Party Rick Scott Tea Party Trey Radel Usa Today