The Ouachita Citizen in Louisiana reports that Melissa Hixon Peacock, 33, is the woman who was caught on camera kissing conservative Republican Congressman Vance McAllister. The pair were recorded together locking lips in surveillance footage recorded two days before Christmas.
McAllister, a freshman congressman who is married with five children, won his seat in Louisiana’s 5th district with 60 percent of the vote, despite being a political newcomer. A churchgoing Baptist, he ran on family values and spoke openly about his faith. On April 28, McAllister announced that he wouldn’t be running for reelection.
Here’s what you should know about McAllister and the woman at the center of his scandal:
1. Peacock Is on McAllister’s Staff
Peacock is a practicing cosmetologist. When McAllister was elected to the Congress, she joined his congressional staff. She is also employed as McAllister’s “District Scheduler.” In 2013, she donated $5,200 to McAllister’s congressional campaign.
According to McAllister’s Chief of Staff Adam Terry, Peacock has been taken off the payroll in the past 24 hours. The congressman’s office later reiterated that Peacock had left of her own accord.
2. The Video Was Filmed in Peacock’s Congressional Office
The video is dated December 23, 2013, and was recorded at around 1:39 p.m. According to The Ouachita Citizen, it was made at McAllister’s congressional office at 1900 Stubbs Avenue, Suite B, in Monroe, Louisiana (above).
A reporter with The News Star, Greg Hilburn, says that the video was leaked a member of McAllister’s staff.
3. Peacock’s Husband Is a Friend of the McAllisters
Like McAllister, Peacock is married. She and husband Heath Peacock live in Sterlington, Louisiana, according to her Facebook page.
Heath Peacock donated money to McAllister’s campaign. According to his LinkedIn page, he works as assistant chief inspector at Wood Group Mustang, a company where Vance McAllister also worked for many years.
You don’t achieve goals by compromising your integrity but by building relationships on respect. We have to love our neighbor, which is the most bipartisan you can be.
The Ouachita Citizen says that Heath Peacock was previously married to Leanna Shudiske from 2000-2003. Their marriage ended in divorce. According to text messages that were allegedly sent by McAllister the night the revelations came out, Heath Peacock is not on speaking terms with the congressman. Heath Peacock spoke to The Ouachita Citizen saying:
I’m just freaking devastated by the whole deal, man. I loved my wife so much. I cannot believe this. I cannot freaking believe it. I feel like I’m going to wake up here in a minute and this is all going to be a bad nightmare.
4. The Congressman Has Admitted to the Affair
McAllister has released a statement asking his constituents for “forgiveness.” The full statement reads:
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 your a husband, a father, or a congressman. I promise to do everything I can to earn back the trust of everyone I’ve disappointed.
If the people are willing to forgive me I’ll keep fighting. If there’s somebody more perfect than me who they support, it’s their will.
5. McAllister Brought ‘Duck Dynasty’ to the State of the Union
McAllister gained national notoriety when he invited cast members of the TV show Duck Dynasty to President Obama’s State of the Union address. The Associated Press credited McAllister’s friendship with Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty with raising the profile of his campaign. The AP also notes that McAllister pumped $800,000 of his own money into the run.