The Central Indiana Life Sciences Initiative seeks to turn Indianapolis into an "incubator" of new bio-tech marvels that will fuel the local economy and provide people with everything from treatments for various diseases to new food products. And that"s not all. Following his recent difficulties with the state Legislature over Indiana"s budget crisis and tax restructuring, Gov. Frank O"Bannon hopes the CILSI will also be able to provide the state with new kinds of state representatives and senators. "It"s obvious," observed a longtime Statehouse watcher, "that we"re not electing the sharpest knives in the drawer. A lot of these characters run virtually unopposed because nobody else is goofy enough to want their jobs. So the idea of creating test tube legislators makes, well, sense." Aides to O"Bannon are conferring with bioengineers about the "doability" of producing lawmakers capable of "putting partisan differences aside," thinking "out of the box" and "taking the long view." Although Republican Party officials have expressed concern that the governor might somehow tilt the research to favor Democrats, O"Bannon"s people insist that these "bio-reps" will all be independents. "This will really shake up the system," says one pundit, "but it appears the governor, in spite of his historic loyalty to the Dems, thinks it"s time to put the state"s welfare ahead of the old partisan wrangling."
Among the other advantages this initiative might bring: no more legislative domination by aging white guys. "We can probably design legislators that will reflect all races and both genders, even trans-genders!" notes biotechnician Leif Speranteau. "These lawmakers will also be provided with higher than average IQs - and they"ll look good on TV; telegenetics should heighten public interest in civic affairs."