Sheryl Cole wants to make history as first African American mayor of Austin

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Councilwoman Sheryl Cole wants to achieve something that no African American woman has done yet: become mayor of Austin.

Cole was elected to the city council in 2006 and is currently serving as mayor pro tem. Before her election to the council, Cole served on the board of Planned Parenthood and was a chair for an Austin Independent School District bond proposal. 

She was also an advocate for the recent affordable housing resolution that was on the ballot in 2012.

The top three issues for her campaign are affordability, transportation and water. 

“Students have a real issue with affordable housing because most students don’t have the income levels to afford the housing in Austin,” Cole said.

As a part of the council, Cole has been a part of some decisions that make it easier for students to live near campus, such as decisions concerning land use. Cole believes that students earn higher grades when they live close to campus.

“I tried to always consider them as we made decisions, and make sure that the things that are important to students, like affordable housing, I’ve been working very hard on for a number of years,” the councilwoman said.

The Daily Texan, the University of Texas at Austin’s student newspaper, endorsed Cole for mayor. She is very proud of the endorsement, and hopes that she will win the student vote. 

If elected, Cole wants to create a new task force for students.

“I’m currently researching making a student quality of life task force so that decisions involving students would actually go through that task force so that we can get their input in an organized manner,” she said.

 

As mayor, Cole plans to give “ample attention” to St. Edward’s and the other universities dwarfed by UT.

One of Cole’s rivals in this election is Martinez, her fellow council member. Both were elected at the same time. Cole notes one major division between them. 

“I have more hair than him,” she said.

Like her colleague, Cole is not concerned about the money Adler’s campaign has raised. She believes that Austinites will not allow for this election to be bought.

Cole thinks she has the perfect balance of experience and temperament to lead the city.

“I think when people think about this race they recognize that it comes down to experience and not having experience. Even if you have experience, do you have the right temperament to be mayor?” Cole said. “So you can have a record, not just talking about it, but an actual record of bringing people together to move this city forward.”

Cole is prepared for the potential of a runoff. She plans to talk to as many citizens as she can through any means possible. Earlier this month, Cole talked to her supporters on Reddit answering their questions.

There have been rumors about the possibility of ACL and SXSW moving away from Austin, and Cole wants to work with those organizations to ensure they stay here.

“SXSW and ACL are icons in Austin,” Cole said. “They are an integral of what we consider Austin.”

Cole’s campaign has reached out to students across Austin. She said that she has “tried to always consider them” as making her decisions on the council.

“Students are students, and their needs are unique,” she said.