LAKE WORTH — Mark Foley‘s back in government.
Ten years ago, the Republican congressman from Palm Beach and the Treasure Coast resigned in disgrace after the publication of blue text messages he sent to young, male U.S. Congress pages, at times during law-making debates.
Since then, a clean-and-sober and openly gay Foley has stayed out of politics.
He spends his time facilitating private business transactions, mostly in real estate and banking. He even worked on the deal that made it possible to build a brand spanking new Spring training stadium in West Palm Beach for the Washington Nationals and Houston Astros.
But government, Foley admits, is a habit that’s hard to shake.
The 62-year-old was just named to the C-51 Canal Advisory Board, where he’ll represent the city of Lake Worth.
“Lake Worth politics is where it all started for me,” Foley said of his first steps back into government. “So when a commissioner asked me to sit on the board, I was more than willing to do it.”
The board’s job, which pays no salary, is to advise a slew of agencies, including the South Florida Water Management District and U.S. Corps of Engineer, on a project to build locks on canals between Delray Beach and Lake Okeechobee.
The system of locks would make it possible for boats to sail from the Atlantic to the giant Central Florida lake, and on to the Gulf of Mexico.
An advisory board gig might sound like small potatoes for a regular at the White House for more than a decade. But Foley doesn’t see it that way.
“A $250,000-house along a canal with that kind of access to the ocean and the lake would double in value immediately,” Foley said. “It’s not unimportant. It’s a major project.”
Can a return to big time politics be that far ahead for Foley?
“I’m enjoying life right now,” he said.