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Gaffs, misdirection and fatal decisions

December 20, 2013
Cape Coral Daily Breeze

To the editor:

Dealing with the recent tragic illumination that Congress Trey Radel, Florida Congressman of the 19th Congressional District, was arrested for cocaine possession and use, one has to wonder how this has impacted the 19th Congressional District. Currently, Congressman Radel is going through drug rehabilitation and the 19th Congressional District is not being represented.

Oh, yes, he has a staff that works in his congressional office in Washington, D.C., and several offices in Southwest Florida's 19th congressional district (but this is another story within this letter to the editor). But the person who counts, the person who represents us, the person responsible to the constituents of Florida's 19th Congressional District is currently non compos mentis. (Latin - term meaning "not of sound mind")

No, I am not a medical professional, nor do I have training in the mental health professions but, common sense tells me someone who is intoxicated, under the influence of drugs or alcohol has a limited capacity for making sound decisions and it also impacts their motor skills. And since I voted and supported the candidacy of Congressman Radel, I would like several questions answered. And I would want them answered in such a manner that they are direct and to the point.

Was he ever under the influence of cocaine when he was on the floor of the House of Representatives voting for any legislation? Did he ever indulge in cocaine use in his congressional office? How often did he indulge in cocaine use?

These are reasonable questions for him to answer since he has made the decision to continue to represent the 19th Congressional District. Wouldn't you think? And if he publicly comes out and answers these questions without spin and the answers are common sense I will evaluate them and determine if I will continue to support him as the 19th Congressional District's representative.

And the final question I would ask, if I had the opportunity, is what is the plan to insure that Congressman Radel will never indulge in cocaine use again while he's representing us?

We could recommend that our other senatorial representatives provide a mentoring program for the congressman. I know that would be ridiculous. But, I want you to understand that it is impossible to monitor the sobriety of a once identified drug or alcohol abuser unless there is a clear program in place that they will voluntarily be a part. And this is exactly where the "gaffs, misdirection and fatal decisions" commence. With the added expense of supporting a delusional attitude of a person who has been under the influence for apparently a long period of time to completely be 100 percent functional and sober in making decisions and providing leadership.

What is the truth of maintaining Congressman Radel's position as the 19th Congressional District? Is it really his leadership in Congress? Let's look and review his voting record in the short period of time since the beginning of this year, what has Congressman Radel and his staff accomplished for the Florida 19th Congressional District.

From January 2013 to December 2013, Radel missed 62 of 641 roll call votes, which is 9.7 percent. This is worse than the median of 2.3 percent among the lifetime records of representatives currently serving. (source:

Bills sponsored: (source:

H.R. 3359: Delay Until Fully Functional Act of 2013 has a 1 percent chance of getting past committee.

H.R. 2840: To amend the Agricultural Adjustment Act to exclude raisins from agricultural marketing orders - 3 percent chance of making past committee.

H.R. 2079: Expediting Veteran's Benefits Act 2 percent chance of making past committee.

H.R. 1810: To revise the boundaries of John H. Chafee Coastal Barrier Resources System Gasparilla Island Unit in Florida 17 percent chance of getting past committee.

H.R. 1811: To remove from the John H. Chafee Coastal Barrier Resources System areas included in Florida System Unit 17 percent chance to get past committee.

H.Res. 150: Congratulating the Florida Gulf Coast University Eagles for becoming the first 15 seed to advance to the ...

H.Con.Res. 30: Recognizing the 65th anniversary of the independence of the State of Israel.

H.R. 1269: Life, Liberty, and Justice for All Americans Act 3 percent chance of getting past committee.

H.R. 731: Protecting Americans Abroad Act 63% percent chance of getting past committee.

Note: seven bills, two resolutions a high percentage of these bills and resolutions were offered during the winter and spring of 2013. The one bill that has a 63 percent chance of making it out of committee is a budgeting item for the Department of State's office of Diplomatic Security to finance and hire local guard forces for posts and embassies.

Question: When you compare this performance of Congressman Radel with other freshman congressman where does he stand? I have my own answer but you the voter, the constituent needs to do your "due diligence" to come up with your own conclusion.

Now is our congressman refusing to resign at this point in time due to the fact that he wants to ensure that his staffers have enough time to find new positions? Remember when a congressman leaves office for any reason, so does his staff. Just think, a congressman's staff salary can exceed $1.5 million annually. And those are the staff members that work directly for them it doesn't include those staffers who work on assignment from various executive branch agencies or volunteers. These people who are compensated by our tax dollars one way or another need sound leadership and direction for researching, preparing and scheduling the congressional activities for our 19th Congressional District representative.

But again, you need to do your "due diligence" what I have done here in this short letter to the editor is very brief and really doesn't contain all the facts. But it is a beginning.

Richard W. Peppe Jr.

Cape Coral



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