Catherine Fleming Bruce has deep roots in the community, and has long been dedicated to innovative ways of preserving and protecting it. She served as Foreperson for South Carolina’s two-year long Public Corruption State Grand Jury, the longest in the State’s history. It produced numerous indictments, which led to successful convictions, and calls for real ethics reform in government. The investigation uncovered networks of corruption, and showed where ‘dark money’ spent from the shadows speaks louder than the voices of the people. Afterward, when bills filed by two state lawmakers to bring dark money reform stalled and appeared dead, Catherine spoke out in favor, leading to their subcommittee passage in the State House, set for review when the Legislature returns in January. She remains a fighter for structural change to ensure that the voices of the people are heard, and their needs met.
Catherine is active with grassroots organizations in every corner of District 2, promoting citizen engagement, well-being and inclusion. These groups include Black Voters Matter, March On, the Indigenous Women’s Alliance of South Carolina, Interfaith Partners of South Carolina, the Poor People’s Campaign and the Movement for Black Lives. This year, Catherine led the community in a successful challenge of a proposed City of Columbia ordinance that would result in increased gentrification, Black and brown push-out, and a widened racial wealth gap. Her ongoing activism gives her unique insights into the problems facing the people of Columbia, and brings the community both resources for and access to cutting edge solutions.
In times of peace and in times of challenge natural disaster, Catherine forges partnerships and collaborations that bring results. During Columbia’s 2015 ‘Thousand year’ flood, outreach to Columbia, Mississippi produced aid to hospitals in the Midlands in a time of need. Her ability to act in time of crisis, to assess risk and to work pro-actively will keep our City safe and strong.
Catherine has always been a mover and a shaker; from a young age, she was always at the forefront of efforts for social justice. Her influence and role models were her late father, Louis Fleming, who served as Sumter County Council Chairman, and her mother, Emma R. Fleming, who taught school and served in leadership positions in many community organizations. Catherine’s studies at Agnes Scott College, a woman’s college, heightened her power to build, collaborate and lead. Her advanced degree work at the University of South Carolina sharpened skills strengthened her ability to analyze, organize and problem-solve. Through her work through Tnovsa Global Commons, Catherine has preserved structures connected to leaders and problem solvers such as Modjeska Simkins and Dr. Cyril O. Spann, which permanently cements important legacy in our community. Her book on the social justice aspect of saving historical civil rights sites won national recognition and is a model for current and future developers. Catherine’s experience with preservation and collaboration will facilitate a re-imagining of how Columbia City Council can work to bring social, community and economic development benefits to all parts of the City.
NOW is the time for innovative and creative leadership for District II – please stand with Catherine Fleming Bruce and give her your vote on November 5, 2019. To learn more about Catherine and her goals and beliefs, explore the site, and if you have any questions please get in touch.