Democrat Sheryl Cole calls for better public education, reproductive rights in bid for Texas House

Sami Sparber

Editor’s note: This is one in a series of profiles of candidates running for state House District 46.

As a mother of three and a former member of the Austin City Council, Sheryl Cole said she has the experience and grit necessary to create change at the state Legislature.

“Nobody knows how to get things done like a mom,” Cole said. “Having governed (on the City Council), you don’t have to wonder what I’m going to do  — you can see what I’ve done and what I’m capable of doing.”

Cole, an accountant and attorney, is the Democratic candidate for Texas House District 46, which covers parts of East Austin and Pflugerville, and most of Manor. If Cole wins, she will continue the 43-year legacy of black representation in the district.

Her platform focuses on improving the state’s public education system, making her district more affordable for residents and protecting women’s reproductive rights.

Cole said her experience both on the City Council and as president of the PTA taught her the importance of a good education. To ensure success for every student, Cole said the state Legislature must allocate more funding to public schools.

“The state has given us a bad check on education,” Cole said. “But we simply cannot be a leading country, state or city without a state-of-the-art public education system.”

Requiring the state to properly fund its public education system will reduce local property taxes and make communities more affordable, Cole said. 

“The highest portion of the property tax bill is school taxes, and that is a major contributor to making homes unaffordable,” Cole said. “We cannot have government programs like Social Security without a middle class, and we cannot have a middle class if they can’t afford to buy a home.”

To protect women’s reproductive rights, Cole said it is imperative Planned Parenthood is fully funded.

“A woman’s ability to choose to reproduce or not is fundamental to her education, livelihood and life,” Cole said.

Although she anticipates partisan pushback, Cole said the issues she is fighting for are fundamental to capitalism and democracy.

“I’m very proud of what I accomplished while governing in a nonpartisan setting,” Cole said. “The state Legislature is a partisan setting, but I will approach these issues with the same fairness and open mind for everybody that I always have.”