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In 2012, Austin voters passed a series of reforms and progressive proposals, except for one: affordable housing bonds. As Mayor Pro Tem and the city’s first African American woman elected to city council, Sheryl Cole led a coalition of community advocacy and service groups to place a new affordable housing package on the ballot to address affordability issues and mounting economic and racial divides. Austin voters stepped up this time, passing the bond package with 61% of the vote.


An accountant and attorney by training, Sheryl got her start in public life stepping up in her local PTA, and organizing community support for our schools as one of the Tri-Chair’s to the AISD Bond Committee in 2004.


On the City Council, Sheryl was a voice for equality who had the courage to address systemic divides. Before the Supreme Court spoke out, Sheryl put forward a resolution that made Austin the first city in Texas to publicly support marriage equality. She put in place increased transparency and controls within the city and with contractors to address disparities in pay for women and people of color. And Sheryl was a champion for the hard-to-employ, leading early fights to counter discriminatory practices that prevented those who had paid their price to society reintegrate into society.


Sheryl has a keen understanding that real economic opportunities are fundamental for communities to truly be diverse and inclusive. On Council, Sheryl was a voice for economic development and championed the re-envisioning of Waller Creek, pulling prime downtown real estate out of the flood plain for new development, now home to the new UT Medical School. And in a volatile economy, Sheryl’s leadership as Chair of the Audit and Finance Committee helped secure Austin’s AAA bond rating.


Sheryl’s strong advocacy skills with a get-things-done approach hasn’t gone unnoticed. Among her many recognitions, the Austin Chronicle named her “Best Council Stewards,” the Texas Legislative Black Caucus named her “Outstanding Community Leader,” and the Travis County Democratic Party honored her in 2015 among their “Trio of Stars.”


Today, with economic divides growing and women and communities of color under political attack. Sheryl is stepping up once again as State Representative in House District 46.


Sheryl is married to college sweetheart, Kevin Cole and they raised three sons, Marcus, Nelson and Femi. Sheryl and Kevin live in the Wilshire Woods neighborhood and are active members of the David Chapel Missionary Baptist Church.

  • Best Council Steward Award – The Austin Chronicle, 2006

  • Peacemaker Award – Dispute Resolution Center, 2009

  • John and Kitty Holman Award – Nat. Alliance on Mental Illness, 2010

  • Outstanding Community Service Award – Texas Homeless Network, 2010

  • Distinguished Public Service Award – Nat. Black Public Administrators, 2011

  • Outstanding Community Leader – Texas Legislative Black Caucus, 2013

  • Woman of the Year: Economic Empowerment – YWCA Greater Austin, 2014

  • Profile in Power Award – Austin Business Journal, 2013

  • Women of Courage Award – National Women’s Political Caucus, 2013 

  • Outstanding Community Service – End Chronic Homelessness Now, 2014

  • Travis County Democratic Party – Trio of Stars, 2015

  • Seedling Foundation – Fab Five, 2016

  • Capital of Texas Media Foundation, 2015 - 2016

  • Downtown Austin Alliance, 2008-2014

  • Capitol Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, 2008-2014

  • Lone-Star Rail, 2008-2014

  • Joint City County AISD Coordinating Committee, 2006-2008

  • Austin Independent School District Bond Committee (Tri-Chair), 2004

  • Leadership Austin, 2003-2005 

  • Austin Area Urban League, 2005-2006 

  • Communities in Schools, 2005-2006

  • City of Austin Bond Committee,1998

  • Texas Municipal League Board of Directors

  • Planned Parenthood Board of Directors

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