Cheryl Cates, a longtime Realtor and the wife of Key West Mayor Craig Cates, filed paperwork Thursday to become a candidate for a seat on the Utility Board.
In her first run for political office, Cates is seeking the spot on the Utility Board that 15-year incumbent Lou Hernandez will leave vacant at the end of this year.
"I think this is a perfect opportunity," said Cates, 59, who grew up in Key West after moving here at age 2.
Cates and her husband will appear on the same ballot Oct. 1 when he seeks a third term for mayor.
"I've always wanted to do something for the community," said Cheryl Cates. "This is a small step. I'm not really a great public speaker. That was my only fear."
While she hasn't ever held public office, Cates has helped manage her husband's mayoral campaigns as treasurer.
She also helped run the family businesses, Cates Automotive, which sold used cars, and the NAPA store her husband owned before retiring.
"She's done the books for all our businesses," Mayor Cates said. "She's been my treasurer my whole life."
From 2000 to 2003, Cheryl Cates was one of former Republican Gov. Jeb Bush's appointees serving on the South Florida Regional Planning Council.
She attended Key West High School, where she met her future husband, then a senior, but graduated from a school in Homestead after they were married. She has had a Realtor license for 26 years.
The nonpartisan Utility Board of five members oversees and sets policy for Keys Energy Services, a public utility, and meets the second and fourth Wednesday of each month.
Members run at-large and serve four-year terms.
Another Utility Board incumbent, Peter Batty Sr., has filed paperwork to seek another term Oct. 1