Radel in Review

What the congressman said about resigning three weeks ago

CREATED Jan 27, 2014

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 WASHINGTON D.C. - What a difference three weeks can make.

When Fox 4 anchor Patrick Nolan traveled to Washington earlier this month to interview Trey Radel, the Republican was adamant about staying on the job - even as he acknowleged the broken trust felt by voters in Southwest Florida.

"I want to be able to restore that trust, and I think that I've been able to," Radel told Nolan in the interview in his Washington D.C. office on January 8th. 

He said he was going to "serve the people of Southwest Florida" and serve the two year term to which he was elected "with honor and dignity."

"Service is best thing I can do to re-estatblish normalcy in my life," said Radel who also repeatedly declined to say whether he was running for re-election - saying, "politics are the last thing on my mind."

When Radel mentioned that he also wanted to be "a better man" for his wife, child and dad, Nolan followed up.
"Has your wife or dad, or anyone close to you said  'Trey the best thing for you to do is not be in congress right now?'"
"No, no one has said that," replied Radel.
"What people have said is, 'What can I do to help? I want to support you, I love you and I'm here for you'" said Radel. 
During that January 8th interview, Radel shrugged off public calls from state and local Republican leaders for him to step down.
He said he was ready to "balance work and family life."
"They don't think you can," said Nolan.
"Who's 'they?'" replied Radel.
"The governor," said Nolan.
"The governor is a great man," responded Radel.
Nolan pointed out  the Lee and Collier Republican party chairmen (in addition to the Florida Republican party chairman)  were also calling on Radel to step down.
"Millions of people go to work every day and strike a balance between loved ones and work," responded Radel who has said he suffers from alcoholism.
"And that's what I need to do a better job of," said Radel who spent time in a Naples rehab facility after his cocaine conviction.
"And with the support of my wife, I'm able to do that," he added.
During the interview, Radel repeatedly declined to say what his wife, former Fox 4 anchor Amy Wegmann, knew about his substance abuse when she campaigned for him during the 2012 election.
He also declined mulitple opportunities to answer specific questions about his substance abuse - instead speaking of it in only the most general of tems.
"I have screwed up in life, plenty," said Radel. 
When asked if his wife was aware of his cocaine use, Radel responed by talking about her attitude toward his use of alcohol. 
"With my use of drinking, Amy had always aid, 'Maybe you should take a look at that,' I regret not listening," said Radel.
Radel also acknowleged the strain the crisis had put on his marriage. 
"While Amy is my rock , there is no question she's thoroughly disappointed," said Radel.
Nolan asked Radel about the House Ethics committee investigation into his actions.
"Will there be more secrets revealed?" asked Nolan.
"I'm sharing everything with (the House) Ethics (committee) as I am with you," said Radel.
"You don't feel there are any more bombshells to come out?" asked Nolan.
"You've shared everything?" Nolan asked.
"My life is here for the world to see," said Radel. 
Radel said he also wanted his story to inspire others dealing with substance abuse.
"My hope is that I can be a positive example for milions of other peole that are struggling today," said Radel.  
He also said his story hasn't been easy to tell - or live.
"This has been terrible experience," he said.
"It's been rough." 
He also said he received divine warning signs long before his cocaine conviction.
"I've always said God was kicking me in shins for a long time - saying, 'Wake up!'"