Congressman elected with ‘Duck Dynasty’ blessing caught on video, asks for forgiveness
After being caught on videotape, U.S. Rep. Vance McAllister, who ran as a devoted family man and Christian, asked forgiveness from his family and constituents Monday for kissing an aide a month after being sworn into Congress.
To stand out from a crowded field last fall, McAllister, R-Swartz, used commercials asking voters to pray for him, promised to bring family values to Congress and relied on the stars of “Duck Dynasty,” the popular reality program that famously ends each episode in prayer.
The first-time candidate upset the state GOP establishment by swamping the odds-on favorite, a legislative floor leader for Gov. Bobby Jindal whose campaign was run by the governor’s chief political adviser.
A week later, McAllister took his first trip to Washington, D.C., and took the oath on Nov. 21 to replace Rodney Alexander as the congressman representing the state’s largest congressional district, stretching from Monroe to Alexandria and across the Florida parishes to Bogalusa.
A video acquired by The Ouachita Citizen newspaper and released Monday showed McAllister on Dec. 23 embracing and giving an aide — the wife of a longtime friend — a lingering kiss in the dark of his Monroe district office.
McAllister did not answer his phone Monday, and his office did not answer its phones in Washington, D.C., and Monroe.
In a prepared statement released late Monday, McAllister said: “There’s no doubt I’ve fallen short and I’m asking for forgiveness. I’m asking for forgiveness from God, my wife, my kids, my staff, and my constituents who elected me to serve. Trust is something I know has to be earned whether you’re a husband, a father or a congressman. I promise to do everything I can to earn back the trust of everyone I’ve disappointed,” McAllister stated.
“From day one,” the statement continued, “I’ve always tried to be an honest man. I ran for Congress to make a difference and not to just be another politician. I don’t want to make a political statement on this, I would just simply like to say that I’m very sorry for what I’ve done. While I realize I serve the public, I would appreciate the privacy given to my children as we get through this.”
McAllister is a father of five who has been married 16 years.
The Ouachita Citizen, in West Monroe, broke the story and released the video Monday.
Sam Hanna Jr., publisher of The Ouachita Citizen, said Monday the surveillance video arrived in an envelope a couple of weeks ago from an anonymous source.
His reporters spent the time between then and now verifying its contents and the participants.
Hanna said he had been inside McAllister’s Monroe congressional office at 1900 Stubbs Ave., Suite B, a dozen times.
The incident captured on the videotape occurred at roughly 1:39 p.m. on Dec. 23.
McAllister is caught on tape embracing and kissing a woman, a 33-year-old aide, Hanna says is Melissa Anne Hixon Peacock, the wife of longtime friend, Heath Peacock.
McAllister grew up near Heath Peacock in West Carroll Parish and worked with him over a 16-year period at Mustang Engineering, a Houston oil and gas company, according The Ouachita Citizen.
A self-employed cosmetologist, Melissa Anne Peacock joined McCallister’s congressional campaign, and federal payroll records show Peacock began working as a part-time aide the day after he was elected.
McAllister largely self-funded his campaign with the money he’s made in the oil and gas pipeline business. He defeated state Sen. Neil Riser, R-Columbia, with 60 percent of the vote even though Gov. Bobby Jindal’s chief political adviser ran Riser’s campaign.
After the election, McAllister said those who advised that Riser go negative should be “run out of Louisiana” for failing to represent Louisiana values.