Local track coach and businesswoman Cheryl “Shelley” Keeling is jumping into the race for the City Council seat currently occupied by Councilman Oliver Koppell. Ms. Keeling is the third Democratic candidate to announce candidacy.
Mr. Koppell is serving his third and final term representing District 11, which includes all of Riverdale, Kingsbridge, Van Cortlandt Village and part of Kingsbridge Heights, as well as Norwood, Bedford Park, Wakefield and Woodlawn. Community Board 8 member and attorney Andrew Cohen and businessman Cliff Stanton have announced campaigns for the seat.
Ms. Keeling, 61, gives new meaning to the phrase running for office. She’s an accomplished runner and has been a track coach at Ethical Culture Fieldston School for 14 years. Her campaign slogan is “Running 4 Change” and her first piece of printed literature features a picture of her running on the beach.
She grew up in Harlem and moved to Riverdale 25 years ago to raise her son. She graduated from Ithaca College with a degree in political science and attained her law degree from Valley University School of Law in California. She worked as a law clerk before going into business on her own. She has worked in real estate for 34 years, investing in and managing properties.
Her grandfather, who immigrated to New York from the tiny Carribean island of Anagada, also owned and managed properties in the city. She currently owns Capital Management Group, which she said manages housing units in Manhattan and the Bronx.
During an interview at Madison’s in North Riverdale on Saturday afternoon, Ms. Keeling talked about issues related to small business, education and housing, saying her ideas on these topics come from personal experience.
“When I’m speaking and when I’m running on a platform, it’s not a position. I don’t have positions. I have passions,” she said.
In the interview, she focused on small businesses, saying that the city has a stranglehold over them, with high taxes and too much regulation.