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Bruce Hrobak: Owner of Billy Bones Bait and Tackle invited to White House to talk about environment in front of President Trump

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Posted at 11:35 PM, Jul 08, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-09 04:20:42-04

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President Donald Trump received strong words of support from a Treasure Coast business owner who was invited to the White House to speak about the impacts of toxic algae on his business.

Bruce Hrobak, owner of Billy Bones Bait and Tackle in Port St. Lucie, spoke at the presidential podium at an environmental event.

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One of Hrobak's employees, Elly May Key, says Hrobak is also a fishing captain and knows the local waterways well.

She says he is a great spokesperson for local issues and local needs.

May spends her days giving local fishermen everything they need for success out on the water. But no matter how fresh the bait, or expensive the reel, she knows there is nothing to keep fish biting when the water is toxic.

"Frustrating as far as not only financially, but knowing our ecosystem needs a lot of help,” Key said.

May was excited to see her boss taking their concerns straight to the president.

The water is not currently covered in blue-green algae as it has been in the past, but Key says they never drop their guard.

President Trump welcomed Hrobak to his podium.

“We’re joined today by Bruce Hrobak, Owner of Billy Bones Bait and Tackle in Port St. Lucie. A place I know very well, Florida,” Trump said. “His business was devastated by toxic algae from Lake Okeechobee.”

Hrobak praised Trump during his comments.

“I’m just so grateful for all the work you’re doing, sir, and Everglades restoration,” Hrobak said. “You jumping into this environment brings my heart to warmth.”

Hrobak explained how algae threaten his business.

“We closed several days a week because of the algae and people being frightened,” said Hrobak.

Key watched Hrobak’s comments with excitement.

“Breathtaking, absolutely amazing,” Key said.

She hopes it will only help keep resources coming to the Treasure Coast.

“Maybe [President Trump] being able to hear it first hand from somebody, maybe it will get things moving faster for us.”

President Trump also talked about signing legislation that secured $100 million to fight the red tide.

Hrobak said he was especially thrilled to see an expedited completion date of 2022 for repairs to the Herbert Hoover Dike.