The governor is indeed making the trek to Houston on Sunday – but his office said he and his wife Sandra will be making a one-day trip that won’t rely on state tax dollars to foot their bill.
“Gov. Deal and the First Lady are proud of our Atlanta Falcons and will travel to Houston to show their support and cheer our home team on to victory,” said Deal spokeswoman Jen Talaber Ryan. “They depart Sunday morning and will immediately return following the game. No state taxpayer dollars will be used to cover the costs.”
He’ll be joined by Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed at meeting with NFL executives and the Super Bowl Host Committee to talk about the city’s preparations to host the event in 2019.
Some politicians have found other ways to get to big events. When Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker ventured to Atlanta this month with his family to watch his Green Bay Packers get dismantled by the Falcons, he had the Republican Governors Association pick up the expenses.
Other leading politicians are taking a pass at the game. Aides to Sens. David Perdue and Johnny Isakson sent word they wouldn’t attend the game. Ditto for Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, Secretary of State Brian Kemp and Attorney General Chris Carr.
“I’ve got a refrigerator at home, a good TV,” Isakson said, “and just in case it’s not a great game I don’t want to have to walk out of the stadium sad.”
And it sounds like House Speaker David Ralston won’t be attending either. When his spokesman, Kaleb McMichen, was asked whether he the Blue Ridge Republican would be going to the championship, the response was swift.
“He’d love to. He was just waiting on the AJC to offer him a ticket.”