Frank Ruff Jr.: I had to make a choice

Published 12:00 pm Friday, December 22, 2023

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Frank Ruff

Frank Ruff Jr.
State Senator

By now, you may have seen the headlines about my pending retirement from the Senate. That decision did not come easily and was certainly an emotional one for me to make. I had to choose between what I believe was my purpose for the last thirty years and what was best for my family and my health. 

I had high hopes when I approached the surgery that they would be able to get the cancer out of my body and I would be able to go merrily down the road to full recovery. Recently, my hopes were dampened by learning that there was much left to be dealt with. I, therefore, came to the realization that not only was it unfair to my family to go through the ups and downs of session while trying to balance that with treatments, likewise, in my opinion it would be a disservice to my constituents. 


Clearly, it has been humbling to hear what others are saying.

Governor Youngkin:

“Senator Frank Ruff is a titan in Virginia politics,” Youngkin said in a statement. “His invaluable expertise, dedication to public service, and wealth of knowledge will be dearly missed in the Senate of Virginia.

“Throughout his career, he has been a champion for rural Virginia and our community college system, led the way on economic development and enhancing Virginia’s workforce and has been a true steward of the Commonwealth’s resources and ensuring our public services are effective and efficient. I am immensely grateful for his decades of service to the Commonwealth and its people. Suzanne and I are praying for the entire Ruff family as Frank navigates this incredibly difficult health journey.”

Outgoing Majority Leader Dick Saslaw:

In an era of intensifying partisanship, retiring Senate Majority Leader Dick Saslaw, D-Fairfax, called Ruff “one of those centered people you could talk with and negotiate with. It’s a big loss for the Commonwealth.”

Incoming Senate Minority Leader Ryan McDougle, R-Hanover, called Ruff “the consummate statesman” and a strong voice for rural Virginia.

“In Frank Ruff, Virginians living in rural communities had an effective and accomplished champion,” McDougle said. “Frank successfully fought for workforce training, for a community college system that offers greater opportunity for every region, and for economic development in regions that otherwise might have been left behind.”

Incoming Majority Leader Scott Surovell, D-Fairfax, said he is disappointed to see Ruff leave. Surovell called Ruff “a solid member with a lot of wisdom and the kind of experience we need with all the turnover we’ve had, but he’s got to do what’s right for his family.”

Outgoing Minority Leader Tommy Norment: 

“I have been a member of the Senate every day of Frank Ruff’s tenure. His unwavering dedication to the people and the region he represents, and his commitment to Virginia, is simply unsurpassed.

Frank’s fellow senators know him to be a ‘workhorse’, tirelessly devoting the long days and hours necessary to pass landmark legislation, to protect Virginia’s rural heritage through his work with the Center for Rural Virginia and the Tobacco Commission, and to expanding opportunities for the people of his region through his leadership on workforce development and with our community college system. Frank’s work has changed countless lives for the better.

Frank’s fellow senators also know him as one of the nicest, kindest, and most humble of public servants. In a field where attention is frequently drawn to those who draw attention to themselves, Frank has distinguished himself for his diligence and quiet effectiveness. The Commonwealth of Virginia and the Senate of Virginia are indebted to Frank for his service. I, personally, have been fortunate to know Frank as a close and trusted friend.”

It is very humbling that my service in Richmond has been recognized and appreciated. 

Frank Ruff Jr. represents Lunenburg in the state Senate. His email address is