A longtime member of the Tennessee House of Representatives since 1985, Pruitt was originally elected in a special election upon the death of her husband, Charles Pruitt, who had previously held the position.
Pruitt is a National Honorary member of Sigma Gamma Rho, member of the Order of Eastern Star, 100 Black Women of Middle TN, a State Fair Board Commissioner, and a member of the Meharry Medical College Board of Trustees. She has a B.S. and M.ED. from Tennessee State University and matriculated, but did not graduate from, the University of Northern Colorado.
Pruitt was the subject of several investigations focusing on inappropriate or illegal use of funds. In 2006, it was discovered that she was renting a campaign office from herself, but the building was not used, and for some time, did not have utilities. Rep. Pruitt denied the charges, charging entrapment, but was fined $10,000 for failing to appear before the Registry of Election Finance (later reversed). Pruitt's attorney argued that utilities were routinely disconnected to discourage vandalism.
Investigations of public records also found several potential conflicts of interest. A scholarship fund which Pruitt directed awarded a scholarship to her relative. A legislative earmark Pruitt requested awarded $55,000 to a corporation she founded. Pruitt requested and received a per diem allowance for travel and lodging, despite living two miles from her office.
- "House Democratic Caucus". tnhdc.com. Retrieved 2009-03-18.
- Wright, Sharon D. (September 2000). "The Tennessee Black Caucus of State Legislators" (PDF). The Journal of Black Studies 31 (1): 3–18. Retrieved 2009-03-19..
- "Pruitt, Mary". Our Campaigns. Retrieved 2009-03-19.
- "Pruitt, Mary". Tennessee General Assembly. Retrieved 2009-03-24.
- "Pruitt's Campaign Spending May Have Broken Law". WTVF NewsChannel 5. 11 July 2006. Retrieved 2009-03-19.
- "Board Fines Lawmaker for Campaign Spending". WTVF NewsChannel 5. 12 October 2006. Retrieved 2009-03-19..
- Tennessee Registry of Election Finance. "Minutes of October 2006" (PDF). Retrieved 2009-03-19.
- Rodgers, John. "Election board dismisses $10K fine against Pruitt". The City Paper. Retrieved 2009-03-24..
- Frank, Terry. "Audits Good for Everyone". terryfrank.com. Retrieved 2009-03-19.
- "Lawmaker Says She Works Free, Pockets $43K". WTVF NewsChannel 5. 26 July 2006. Retrieved 2009-03-19.
- "Mary Pruitt.org". Retrieved 2009-03-19.
- Citizens Against Government Waste (21 April 2008). "2008 Tennessee Pork Report" (PDF). Retrieved 2009-03-19.[dead link]
- Mary Pruitt's profile at the Tennessee General Assembly website