To the editor:
As Trey Radel's opponent in last year's congressional election, I have a unique perspective concerning his unfortunate situation. I have known Trey for several years and on a personal note wish him and his family strength and hope during his recovery. Recovery from substance abuse is a very long road and he will have to fight hard to overcome his demons.
On a more practical note, I would like to address the factors and possible outcomes of his situation.
In order for the Governor to call a special election for Radel's vacant seat one of two things must happen;
Congressman Radel must decide to quit.
Congress must vote to remove him with a 2/3 vote.
In order for the People to remove Congressman Radel if he runs for reelection they have two opportunities:
Vote for another Republican in the Primary Election on Aug. 26, 2014. Note: Florida has closed primaries. Only the 47 percent of the voters who are registered Republicans for at least 30 days before the primary election can vote in this race.
If he wins the primary, vote for the Democrat or Libertarian candidate in the General Election on Nov. 10, 2014.
There are only nine months until the primary election in August 2014. This short time period may be a factor in congress voting to remove him.
The Governor, State and Local party heads have called for him to resign and said they would not give party support if he chooses to stay and run again. You would expect that means that he would not be offered an appointment to a government position if he resigns either.
While the Political Party and others can call for his resignation, the decision is up to Trey Radel.
The Relapse Factor. The National Institute on Drug abuse reports the RELAPSE rate for substance abuse is not very good for the first year. Sixty-four percent of the abusers in treatment don't make it through the first year without relapse. In years two and three, one third still relapse and after three years of being clean and sober 14 percent still relapse. The odds are not good for someone in rehab for a month or so to be able to stay clean. After three years of being clean and sober is when you can start to say you have beaten the disease.
Congressman Radel could relapse and get caught again with illegal drugs.
Several prominent people are in a position to run against Congressman Radel in the Primary.
If Congressman Radel quits now he gets nothing. Note: Congressmen are not vested in any retirement plans until they have served five years.
If Congressman Radel does not quit and/or does not run for reelection he gets $14,500 per month in salary and the ability to stay in congress until next November.
What would you do? The ultimate decision of his future will probably rest with you, the voters of the 19th Congressional District. I urge candidates running for Trey's position to disclose their problems and histories completely. I urge the voters to examine the candidates closely and choose wisely.