Mr. Ruvin was first elected to public office in 1968 at the age of 30, serving as Mayor of the City of North Bay Village. In 1972, he was elected to the Metro Dade County Commission where he served as a Commissioner for twenty years focusing on environmental and technology issues.
In 1992, Clerk Ruvin was elected to the Office of the Miami-Dade County Clerk of the Courts. He has been re-elected five times, leading the ballot in 2016 with the largest vote total in South Florida’s history.
Over the course of Clerk Ruvin’s career he has been the recipient of several prestigious awards and achievements.
Miami-Dade County Clerk of Courts Harvey Ruvin is the national recipient of the American Bar Association’s prestigious Robert B. Yegge Award, for his trailblazing and transformative work in the field of judicial administration.
- Miami-Dade County beach re-nourishment project restoring a 200-foot-wide sandy beach from Haulover Park south to Government Cut (10 and 1/2 miles) and providing full public access (1975-1980)
- Sponsor of successful referendum approving a $90 million tax levy for the purchase and maintenance of endangered lands, also the nation's largest program of its kind in the nation (1990)
- Spearheaded establishment of County-wide curbside collection of home-separated recyclables, the largest program of its kind in the nation (1990)
- The program was later enlarged to include multi-family residential businesses
- Established a Commission on the Status of Self-Esteem, Personal and Social Responsibility (1990)
- Sponsor of permanent water conservation regulations as well as requirements for ultra-low volume commodes, faucets and shower heads in all new construction (1991)
- Sponsor of ordinance regulating ozone-depleting chemicals and banning cans powered by CFCs (1991)
- Sponsor of ordinance requiring stage II nozzle heads at commercial gasoline stations to cut ozone and particulate emissions from pumps (1990)
- Developed and successfully proposed sweeping changes in Dade County's procurement policies, so as to promote markets for recycled goods of all types (1992)
- As sponsor and chairman of the Biscayne Bay Management Committee, he played an important role in the protection of South Bay, as well as the success model restoration and enhancement of North Bay (1981 to 1995)
- Established Baynanza, an annual week-long event for the celebration of the environmental, esthetic, historical and economic values Biscayne Bay represents (1981 to present)
- The establishment of the Comprehensive Energy Management Plan, which is credited with cutting 20 percent from County electric bills, concluding a fuel plan which has cut the County's gas demand by 37 percent (1977) at the time of critical shortages.
- Sponsored the Energy Code amendment to the South Florida building code, which for the first time required specific energy standards (1977)
- Earliest advocate of the Dade Comprehensive Development Master Plan establishing an orderly pattern and a timely sequencing of the necessary services for healthy future growth in harmony with both our natural and urban systems. Goal to curtail urban sprawl (1976)
- Creation and maintenance of the Miami-Dade County Consumer Advocate Office (1975)
- Changes to the building code, requiring sprinkler and smoke exhaust systems in mid- and high-rise buildings; and an ordinance requiring minimum fire flow to fight fires (1973)
- Tree ordinance creating incentives for tree preservation, regulating proper tree removals and establishing civil and criminal remedies to prevent or fine violators (1988)
- Sponsored a successful short-term building moratorium enabling an ordinance to safeguard and further review land use processes and plans (1974).
- Chaired a subcommittee of the Commission that brought together builders, environmentalists, bankers, government agencies, etc. to forge innovative, local loan guarantee and second mortgage home ownership programs that have supplied decent, safe housing for hundreds of elderly and low- and moderate-income families (1975).
- Clean Air Ordinance setting strict standards for SO2 emissions for both economic and environmental reasons (1981)
- Sponsored changes to the building code eliminating architectural barriers for physically handicapped persons, as well as an ordinance outlawing discrimination in housing and employment for the "able-disabled" (1984)
- Fought to return security deposits to water and sewer customers once good credit is established (1983)
- Sponsored a package of ordinances dealing with the proper storage, transport and disposal of hazardous wastes. The proposal, now implemented, set up the first local 'mini' super fund in the nation to deal with hazardous waste emergencies (1983).
- Other measures dealing with the protection of the Biscayne Aquifer that supplies Miami-Dade County with its sole source of fresh water (1970 through the 1980's)
- Sponsored a Beverage Container Deposit Law aiming to curb the flow of garbage that pollutes our landfills, which, although narrowly defeated by a strong industry media blitz, served as a consciousness-raising device (1976)
- Sponsored a successful Nuclear Freeze Referendum (1982)
- Sponsored the County’s efforts in 1992 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions formalized by the County’s CO2 Reduction Plan, the plan has resulted in approximately 40 million metric tons of carbon reduced or avoided to date
- Florida Energy Commission (2008)
- Twice chairman of the South Florida Regional Planning Council (Dade, Broward and Monroe Counties) (1975 and 1990)
- Chaired the County Commission's Environment and Land Use Subcommittee. Over the years he has served on all Commission subcommittees
- Downtown Development Authority Board of Directors and Executive Committee
- Member of the Metro-Miami Action Plan Executive Board, a Board established in the early 1980s to deal comprehensively with the racial and economic disparities in Dade County
- Member of Miami-Dade Criminal Justice Council, chairing its Juvenile Justice Subcommittee
- Member of the Board of Directors of the Florida Association of County Commissioners and its Environmental and Natural Resources Chairman
- Currently chairs the County’s Climate Change Advisory Task Force (CCATF) missioned to advise the County regarding Greenhouse Gas Reduction and Adaptation Planning. The CCATF is to recommend measures to address making the County more resilient to expected climate impacts on the built environment, natural systems, economy, social and health concerns.
- Harvey Ruvin served as the President of the National Association of Counties (NACo) (1987-88). He chaired separate NACo Task Forces on immigration, environment and energy, and the liability insurance crisis. NACo is the only national organization representing the interests and acting as a clearing house for the more than 3,000 county governments in America.
- Ruvin is a past chairman of the Urban Consortium (UC) of Public Technology, Inc. (PTI). PTI is the technology arm of its parents, the National League of Cities, the National Association of Counties and the International City/County Management Association. The UC is a coalition of the Nation's 50 largest urban government seeking to apply emerging technologies to local government needs.
- Member, Intergovernmental Science Engineering and Technology Advisory Panel to Office of Science Advisor to the President (Presidents Ford and Carter, 1975-80)
- Member, President's Council on Energy Efficiency, as well as Vice Chairman of Local Government Energy Policy Advisory Committee (President Carter, 1977-80)
- Served a four-year term on the prestigious Advisory Committee on Intergovernmental Relations (ACIR). He chaired the ACIR research committee. (Presidents Reagan and Bush, 1987-91)
- Served as a member of the President Clinton 1988-91 Sustainable Communities Task Force of the President's Council on Sustainable Development (PCSD)
- Member, Board of Directors of the National Association of Counties (1983-present)
- Member, Board of Directors of National Association of Regional Councils (1973-1978)
- Member, Board of Directors of the Community Associations Institute (1978-1982)
- Vice Chairman of National Immigration Forum (1980-1984)
- Delegate to the United Nations World Congress for a Sustainable Future, representing America's Counties at this first-ever international effort to coordinate local governments' environmental initiatives (1990)
- Was the sole spokesperson representing Local Governments World-wide to address the Prep-Com of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in March of 1992
- Served as Vice-President of the North American section and as a member of the prestigious World EXCOM of the International Union of Local Authorities (IULA), an appointment made jointly by the US Conference of Mayors, National League of Cities, the National Association of Counties and the Canadian Municipal League.
- Served as chair of final communiqué session of the Second Municipal Summit on Climate Control in Berlin (March 1995) which produced the most comprehensive participating statement by local leaders to date on full range of climate change and equity issues.
- Member, Board of Directors of the National Association of County Recorders, Election Officials and Clerks, Board of Directors (NACRC). This is the governing body which oversees the organization's efforts to promote the exchange of ideas for the professional management of county recording, clerk and information management functions.
- Vice Chairman, Executive Committee of ICLEI which is the 15-member governing body of the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI). ICLEI is membered by 600 local governments from all over the planet, seeking pro-active ways to combat global environmental and sustainability concerns. He serves as President of USA - ICLEI. Inc. - the corporate entity operating the organization's efforts in America. ICLEI has been designated to represent local government at all United Nations' meetings dealing with the environment and sustainability.