David Woodruff, 44, president of the Durango Chapter of the Colorado Restaurant Association and former general manager of El Moro Spirits & Tavern, announced on Friday he is running for Durango City Council.
He made his announcement at 11th Street Station, which was received with cheers from over 30 friends and supporters. So far, Woodruff and Durango man Harrison Wendt have announced their bids for office after Mayor Barbara Noseworthy and Councilor Kim Baxter said they will not seek a second term on City Council.
Woodruff said the next 10 years will be a “pivotal” decade for Durango and he can draw from his 17 years of experience in the private sector, including his experience in food and beverage through the COVID-19 pandemic, to leverage conversations, build policy and shape strategy to drive the city forward.
Durango is on the “precipice of some major, key projects,” he said, including development in the La Posta area and in Three Springs. He sees opportunities to address the housing shortage and help Durango’s workforce find homes in the city.
“I’ve been running and operating a business (El Moro) downtown for the last 10 years,” he said. “I was at Steamworks seven years prior to that. Understanding downtown – I think there’s a way we can marry the culture and history of downtown and still be able to think progressively about how we update downtown.”
Woodruff said he will bring transparency, business acumen and the knowledge of what it takes to raise a family in Durango to City Council. He said the April municipal election provides an opportunity to bring a fresh perspective, a different lens, to the struggles and challenges that some members of the community face.
“Durango’s given me everything. This gives me the opportunity to give back to a community that’s really given me everything since I moved to Durango,” he said.
Although Woodruff has never run for public office, he said the restaurant association, a 501(c)(6) organization, is an advocacy and educational group that has brought him close to politics in the past.
“You kind of have to put yourself into the political arena to some degree to be able to advocate and educate and be able to seek the change that you want,” he said.
In a news release, Woodruff said he’s excited to see how the city’s Downtown’s Next Step plan – a project to re-imagine Main Avenue from Fifth to 14th streets – evolves, and he wants to be a part of the conversation.
“Key development projects will bring tremendous economic value to our community, and I look forward to leading our vision of those projects,” he said in the release. “We must be bold about addressing our biggest issues, like housing, and show leadership in what we want our City to be.”
Woodruff moved to Durango in 2005 where he established a family with his wife, Stephanie, and two children, ages 7 and 8, who attend school in Durango School District 9-R.
He has served on several nonprofit boards and advised local and area organizations, including Homegrown Talent Initiative, Leadership La Plata, Visit Durango, La Plata County 5 Star Program, R.O.A.R. Coalition, and In The Weeds, according to the release.
Since 2016, Woodruff has served as the president of the Durango Chapter of the Colorado Restaurant Association. El Moro got its start in 2013 and he worked there as its general manager through December 2022.
“Serving in various capacities over the past 10 years has allowed me to better understand community members’ needs and what is important to us over the next decade,” he said.