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Final Word: Perception of politician's drug problems is all in the presentation

Florida Rep. Henry "Trey" Radel. (AP Photo)

Trey Radel, a first-term tea-party congressman from Florida, has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of cocaine possession.

In late October, the 37-year-old congressman bought a small amount of coke from an undercover police officer and allegedly it wasn't the first time. When federal agents approached him, he dropped the drugs to the street, then agreed to talk to those agents in his home, where they found more cocaine.

Radel issued a statement in which he admitted to having an alcohol problem, on which he blamed his "irresponsible choice." He also apologized. He avoided prison and will instead serve a year of probation.

It should be noted, Radel was a sponsor of legislation to test welfare recipients for drugs before they get benefits.

Hmmm. What about your congressional pay?

I know, Radel and Rob Ford are very different personalities. Rob Ford is brash, rude, overweight and blamed his crack use on "one of his drunken stupors."

He called out his Toronto city council for taking away some of his powers, saying his crack use and references to prostitutes were isolated instances, but his mannerisms and behavior indicated they were anything but.

Doesn't Radel's statement about "the disease of alcoholism" sound better? That, and apologizing to his wife, family, and district, and willingly entering rehab.

My bet is unless Radel screws up again, he'll get re-elected.

It's not whether you have a cocaine problem, it's how you handle it, right?

About the Author

Years with the company: Just started with Bonneville, but have worked for and with KTAR AM and FM since 1991.

Career: I always knew my career would be touched by news. I started as a news intern in 1991 and eventually reported news and sports, and anchored newscasts at KTAR when it was an AM, news/talk/sports station. I went to work at the Attorney General's Office in 1995, as a spokesperson for the 300 attorneys there, and for Attorney General Grant Woods. I returned as a part-time host and host of Arizona's Morning News Saturday in 2001.

Education: I escaped Catholic school early when the nuns wanted me to skip the second grade. I found my independent voice at a private grade school in Painesville, Ohio, then called Phillips Elementary. The teachers there encouraged us to ask questions and challenge the status quo. They took us on mind-opening trips and never once treated us like children. I am grateful for those years! I left Ohio in 1988 to attend Arizona State University because I knew I wanted to live in the West. I majored in Journalism and interned at KTAR in the newsroom my senior year.

Family: I am the last of nine children and my parents were undoubtedly looking at retiring when I was born. I was raised early on mostly by my five wonderful sisters. I have so many first cousins that I haven't yet met most of them.

Favorite movie: Caddyshack and anything by John Hughes.

#1 sports team: NL Diamondbacks. AL Cleveland Indians. Gotta love a team whose mascot is named Chief Wahoo.

Outside interests: Working out, cooking, traveling and reading a great book.


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