Andy Ruff is a father, husband, nature enthusiast and lead guitarist for the band Dew Daddies. But many in Bloomington know the 56 year old as an at-large city council member.
With five terms under his belt, Ruff is the longest sitting member on the council.
Dorothy Granger, Bloomington city council vice president, said Ruff's 20 years of experience on council have equipped him with the skills to make good, informed decisions.
Granger also said Ruff is good collaborator and easy to work with.
“He thinks about the future of Bloomington, not just the here and now,” Granger said.
Ruff is a Bloomington native who graduated from Cornell University in 1987 with a degree in natural resources. He received his teaching certification through the IU School of Education and his master’s through the IU School of Public and Environmental Affairs.
Ruff has a 29-year-old daughter and a 20-year-old son. Hank Ruff, 20, is a sophomore at IU studying political science. He is spending the semester in Washington, D.C. as a congressional intern for Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings.
He said he looks up to his father’s motivation to make change in the community.
“He taught me it’s not about making the most money,” Hank Ruff said, “But working hard for the things you care about.”
He said he admires his father for creating change not only through local legislation but also music. The city councilman’s band Dew Daddies plays at fundraisers every year for the Shalom Center and Democracy for Monroe County, among others.
Ruff is lead vocalist and guitarist for the band and writes all of the music, which is influenced by country musicians such as Hank Williams and Ray Price.
“Being able to play is such an enriching experience,” he said. “It’s a great creative outlet.”
His son has been playing guitar with the band since he was in sixth grade.
Besides working for city council, Andy Ruff is an academic adviser for the the College of the Arts and Sciences, specifically with human biology majors. Ruff worked for the Monroe County planning department for more than a decade prior to working at IU.
Ruff has also served as special projects outreach coordinator for former Rep. Baron Hill’s Bloomington office and was a teacher at North Central High School in Indianapolis.
Ruff said he spends his free time canoeing, kayaking and fishing. Ruff said he's a nature enthusiast and many of his decisions are made with the environment in mind.
Ruff said he receives emails every day from people expressing their opinions and arguments about the environment and other issues. He said he appreciates it.
“Bloomington people are very engaged and well-informed,” Ruff said. “They want to push opinions.”
He said he feels very fortunate to live in a culturally rich city like Bloomington where the people are open-minded and value the community.
“Being on city council is the best way to return the favor for what this community has done for me,” he said.