Free to Build a Just Future, Together!


Catherine Fleming Bruce

My mission is public service. I have worked with partners in every county in the Palmetto State, in other states, and in other parts of the world, to support legislation that protects our rights, expands economic opportunity, and defends democratic values. I use my unique combination of education, entrepreneurship, and engagement to perform this work.

I know and serve South Carolina. Service here has meant work in statewide public entities like South Carolina Educational Television, which started in the library of Dreher High School and now brings transformative programming to in-state viewers. Service meant work with the State Humanities Council, which connects leaders of cities, colleges, nonprofit organizations, tourism organizations, and libraries with funding in every corner of the state. My civic engagement with grassroots organizations like the South Carolina Appleseed Legal Justice Center, NAACP, Carolina For All, League of Women Voters, and Black Voters Matter Fund where service meant trips down Fairfield Road toward Winnsboro, Chester, Lancaster, or Rock Hill, or on the interstates to other South Carolina cities.

I taught at institutions of higher education that are among the best in the region: Benedict College, Claflin University, and Midlands Technical College. These deep connections are key to making political change. I believe in leading AND listening, through partnership, teamwork, and collaboration. Because of that vision and method, the Modjeska Simkins House, a building that was once on the verge of demolition is now a permanent Columbia landmark, listed on the US Civil Rights Trail, bringing national recognition to our state. I am currently preserving the Cyril O. Spann Medical Office and the Visanska Starks House and Carriage House through my organization Tnovsa Global Commons, which has also supported other organizations in the area.

Time with partners from elsewhere adds seasoning. For other states and other parts of the world, it means the democracy-building work done with the National Coalition Delegation, a network I founded which includes civic and community leaders from around the country and Americans working abroad, and global governance work during the United Nations’ World Summit for the Information Society. I drafted legislation, penned successful grants, advocated for adequate budgets and programs that would meet and support community needs. These needs included disaster response, for which I received the Seal of the City of Columbia, Mississippi, after mutual disaster relief efforts between Columbia, Mississippi, and Columbia, South Carolina, led to achieving sisterhood status between the two historically linked cities, providing donations to our area hospitals.

I was appointed as Foreman to the State Grand Jury that was directed to conduct our state’s longest public corruption investigation. The investigation, led by Acting South Carolina Attorney General David Pascoe, was noted by The State newspaper as “a unique achievement in state politics in the modern era.” In my role as foreman, I served as spokesman for the State Grand Jury during our proceedings, as was responsible for signing and presenting indictments and verdicts to the court on the jury’s behalf. The case exposed the behind-the-scenes influence of the political consulting firm Richard Quinn and Associates and how the Statehouse had been awash in “pay for influence” politics involving rivers of “dark money” centered around Quinn Sr.'s consulting firm. That trial uncovered unlawful actions between lawmakers, lobbyists, and some of the state’s most prominent institutions. It resulted in the conviction and removal of some lawmakers and a full report on their activities. I encouraged the production of the full report for public benefit, and participated in its editing and final review.

I graduated from Agnes Scott College in Georgia with a dual degree in English, Creative Writing, and Art. I won a grant, usually reserved for faculty, supporting multicultural awareness symposiums that inspired the campus to continue Global Awareness programs into the present day. I earned my MA in Mass Communication and Information Studies at the University of South Carolina, and also pursued doctoral studies there. After the death of my husband, I was my child’s sole support. Though I have endured many hard times, I have persisted, with the example of my parents, my mother Emma, a school teacher, and my late father Louis, who served in the US Army and served his community as Sumter County Council Chairman.

I believe that the task before us is to vote to ensure that the majority of our nation’s elected leaders are committed to our democracy, our Constitution, and a future where the challenges before us are strategically and properly addressed. Only in this way can our diverse populations thrive together in a just system of opportunity and common good.

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