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Tom Turnipseed is the founder of Turnipseed & Associates and has served the citizens of South Carolina since 1964 as an attorney, political and civic leader, and as an advocate for consumer, environmental and civil rights, the civil justice system and world peace.
Born in Mobile, Alabama in 1936, Tom received his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he met his wife Judy while she was a graduate student at UNC. They were married in 1963. Judy is currently the Office Manager at Turnipseed & Associates. Tom and Judy have two children, Jeff and Jeny. Jeff is an attorney with Turnipseed & Associates and is married to Cyndy Smith Turnipseed who is also an attorney. Jeff and Cyndy are the parents of Madeline, age 12 and Sam who is 8. Jeny was a Special Education teacher who is now a full time mother and part time yoga instructor. Her husband Gil is an actuary. They live in Atlanta with daughters Davis, age 11 and her 9 year old sister Elliot.
As President of The South Carolina Trial Lawyers Association, Tom led a successful fight in the South Carolina Legislature to defeat the so called "no fault" auto insurance bill that was the major initiative of a popular Governor. He emphasized how such legislation would cause higher insurance rates and severely limit a citizen's right to trial by jury. He has also written and produced numerous articles and television ads informing citizens of the attack on the fundamental right of trial by jury led by giant corporations and their political allies in the so called "tort reform" movement.
Tom has been a member of the Attorney's Information Exchange Group (AIEG). AIEG members share information and bring product liability, or "crash worthiness" cases against automobile manufacturers and their suppliers.
A former SC State Senator (1976-1980), Tom has a long history of involvement in state politics. In 1980, he was the Democratic nominee for Congress for the 2nd Congressional District. He is formerly a member of the Executive Committee for Lexington County and has been a member of the Executive Committee and Executive Council of the South Carolina Democratic Party. In 1998 he was the Democratic nominee for Attorney General, carrying 26 counties and winning over 46% of the vote.
Tom is a board member of the Carolina Peace Resource Center and has been very active in efforts to make peace in the Middle East and to end the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. Tom is also a board member of the South Carolina Hispanic Leadership Council, a statewide, not for profit organization established to inform, advocate for, and educate, both the Hispanic community and the population at large, on issues affecting Hispanics.
Tom is a civil rights leader. He is also a reformed racist who was formerly the Executive Director of Governor George Wallace's national campaign. Rather than just apologizing for being a racist he has become an activist for social justice. He is former Chairman of the Board of the Center for Democratic Renewal (CDR), formerly the National Anti Klan Network, a civil rights organization based in Atlanta. CDR, in partnership with the National Council of Churches and the Center for Constitutional Rights, was instrumental in bringing national attention to racially motivated church burnings. Because of their efforts, President Clinton established his Initiative on Racial Reconciliation. Tom was co-counsel for the Macedonia Baptist Church in Clarendon County, S.C. in their case against the Ku Klux Klan for burning their church in 1997. The African American congregation won a $37,000,000 jury verdict against the Klan in 1998. In 1998, Tom received the Holmes Weatherly Award, the Unitarian Universalist Association's highest honor for the pursuit of social justice.
Tom is a member of the National Board of Americans for Democratic Action (ADA). The ADA is the nation's oldest independent liberal political organization. Founded in 1947 by scholars and activists, including Eleanor Roosevelt, former Vice President Hubert Humphrey, labor leader Walter Reuther, economist John Kenneth Galbraith, and historian Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., ADA is dedicated to promoting social and economic justice domestically and abroad. The mission of ADA is to organize, educate and work through political action, in accordance with Constitutional democratic principles, on the local, state and national levels. Among its more recent national leaders are Senator Paul Wellstone, Congressman John Lewis and Congresswoman Patsy Mink.
Tom has also worked for environmental justice in South Carolina. He was the founding chairman of the Citizens' Local Environmental Action Network (CLEAN), a statewide umbrella and informational clearing house organization for local citizens' groups concerned with toxic waste dumps in their areas and has been an outspoken critic of environmental racism and classism manifested in the disproportionate amount of toxic waste sites located in minority and poor communities. He has emphasized that toxic wastes constantly migrate in the air, water and soil and eventually threaten everyone.
Tom has also worked and organized around consumer rights issues. In the 1970s Tom was the executive director of the South Carolina Taxpayers Association (SCTA) and President of The People Are Coming. These groups were primarily concerned with utility rate reform and were part of a successful campaign that reformed electrical rates that discriminated against low income ratepayers and changed the method of selection of the regulatory agency. Tom continues in his commitment to consumers by serving on the Board of South Carolina Fair Share, an advocacy group primarily concerned with making public policy serve the needs of everyday working and poor people in South Carolina. Tom has served on the board of the Mental Health Association of South Carolina, and writes and speaks about having been a consumer of mental health services while struggling with depression as a high school and college student.
Tom's political and social activism has been reflected in his radio shows on WCAY, WCTG, WCEO, and WOIC and his television show on WIS TV. In both formats, Tom hosted shows that featured community leaders, national and local leaders in politics and public affairs, sports, and arts and entertainment, providing a forum for discussing diverse issues. The Seed Show broad/web casts live on WOIC, 1230AM (Air America) and seedshow.com every weekday morning from 8:00 till 9:00am. Tom has spoken and written on political and human rights, traveling throughout the country, and has been published in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Atlanta Constitution, The Minneapolis Star Tribune, The Charlotte Observer, and many other newspapers.
Tom's essays have been featured in several books: one was Cast A Cold Eye, America's Opinion Writers, 1990 1991, published by Four Walls and Eight Windows; also in a book published in August 2000 by New York University Press entitled, Civil Rights Since 1787: A Reader on the Black Struggle by Jonathan Birnbaum. His essay, "Renewing The Spirit Of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: King Day at the Dome 2003", is featured in the third edition of Ancient Rhetorics for Contemporary Students, a college textbook by Sharon Crawley and Debra Hawhee, published in 2004 by Pearson/Longman.
A chapter about Tom was featured in Tom Brokaw’s latest bestseller, Boom: Voices of the Sixties and Tom was also featured in the History Channel’s documentary about Boom. Tom was highlighted in the 2008 documentary, Boogie Man, about Lee Atwater, the Machiavellian political operative from South Carolina who perfected dirty tricks politics. The documentary was shown locally at the Nickelodeon theater and on Frontline on national television. Some of Tom’s earlier national media appearances were on CBS TV's Life Remembers (12-30-98), PBS TV's Forgotten Fires (4-29-99) and American Experience in George Wallace: Settin' the Woods on Fire (04-23 & 24-00). Tom has also appeared on MSNBC's Equal Time with Oliver North and Paul Begala, (02-18-00), C SPAN's Washington Journal with Brian Lamb, (02-04-00), and Fox Family Network's series Courage (09-11-00). Tom's articles are published regularly at Common Dreams News Center.
Tom’s latest media projects are Facebook where he has over 2,200 friends and a Blog written with his wife Judy, called Two Seeds on a Blog.
Contact Tom at firstname.lastname@example.org