(INDIANAPOLIS) - Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels has volunteered to climb a 95-foot launch tower and strap himself into a harness to slide 800 feet down a zip line at the Super Bowl Village when it opens just two blocks from the Statehouse next month.
He's hoping it's the only hoopla anyone connected with state government will create when an anticipated 150,000 visitors descend on the capitol city for the NFL championship game that attracts media from around the world.
He wants no headline-grabbing protest or political stunt prompted by a dispute over "right to work" legistlation. Daniels acknowledged the rumors that bill opponents may try to upstage Super Bowl festivities with their own kind of spectacle.
Daniels said he paid "a lot of money" for tickets to see the Feb. 5 game to be played in Lucas Oil Stadium in downtown Indianapolis. He will be using the event to woo what he called "important decision-makers" who could bring jobs to Indiana. The zip line excursion - in an outdoor venue created for pre-game parties - is just one of the ways he'll make himself visible.
He said any attempt to politicize the Super Bowl would be both damaging and disappointing. He said there are a lot of Hoosier and others who just want to enjoy the game.
Timing and location make the right-to-work bill ripe for some dsiputes. When the Indiana General Assembly goes back into session on Jan. 4, Daniels wants legislators to pass a measure that would prohibit employers from entering into contracts that require workers to pay fees to support a union as condition of employment. A similar bill last year set off a five-week walkout by House Democrats and ushered in long days of loud protests by union sympathizers in and outside the Statehouse.
The GOP majority in the House and Senate could try to rush the bill through, before thousands of football fans, scores of news crews, and dozens upon dozens of dignitaries check into the downtown hotels located near the stadium and within shouting distance of the Statehouse.
But that would be difficult to do, which is why House Democrats have fueled rumors that something is afoot. State Sen. Tim Skinner recently told his hometown newspaper, The Tribune-Star in Terre Haute, that Democrats were talking with attorneys and looking at the state Constitution for any possible means of "putting a wrench in these gears" short of violating state law.
Daniels is convinced that's a mistake. During the year-end interview with reporters, he said he was a late convert to the right-to-work bill, but now a believer. He said the bill would help attract new employers to the state. Daniels described the legislation as a jobs-growth bill, a description that the Indiana AFL-CIO rejects.
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