Fighting for Florida

TC Palm/ Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers

http://www.tcpalm.com/news/2011/aug/04/us-senators-youtube-reply-to-letter-thrills-vero/

VERO BEACH — Joe Granberg has had such a jam-packed summer, he almost forgot he wrote a letter to U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio two months ago during a week-long Boy Scout camp in South Carolina.

The 13-year-old Oslo Middle School student got a big reminder Wednesday when he clicked a YouTube link from his scout master and saw a video of Rubio reading his letter about bringing a National Football League team to Orlando.

"I was really surprised," said Joe, who lives in Vero Beach. "Over the summer, I was doing a lot of things. I kind of forgot about it."

Each week, Rubio responds to a few letters from people around the state in a YouTube segment called Marco's Constituent Mailbox. Since so many scouts like Joe need to write lawmakers for their Citizenship in the Nation merit badges, Rubio dedicated this week's address to Boy Scouts' concerns.

"He was just thrilled to death when he found out he was one of the three," said Joe's mother, Amy Granberg. "His face just lit up when he saw it on YouTube."

Joe, a Life Scout with Troop 567 of the Gulfstream Council in Vero Beach and a Philadelphia Eagles fan himself, wrote that adding an Orlando franchise to the three current NFL teams in Florida would help the economy and bring in new tourism.

Rubio responded that though the locations of NFL teams aren't exactly up to legislators, he'd support a new Orlando franchise.

"If they decided they wanted to move an existing franchise or open up a new one in Orlando, I would be all for it," Rubio said. "Count me in. I'd like to help."

At 13, Joe is one of the younger scouts rapidly approaching Eagle Scout level, said Glenn Tremml, scout master for Troop 567. The soon-to-be eight-grader already has 26 merit badges to his name, and spends his spare time fishing, boating, playing lacrosse and meeting with his youth group, his mother said.

Tremml said Troop 567 has its first official meeting in September after a summer break, and Joe's fellow scouts should give him a rousing reception.

Hearing a real response from one of two U.S. senators in the state also will make the scouts feel more involved in the political process, Tremml said.

"He's one of the cornerstone scouts in our troop," Tremml said. "It's not surprising that he'd eventually get a response from what he did."

And even if Orlando eventually does host an NFL team, Joe's sticking by his old favorite team.

"I'd still be an Eagles fan," Joe said. "I'd be thrilled there's a new team, and probably like that team too."