NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - On November 16, St. Tammany Parish voters will decide whether current parish president Pat Brister keeps her job, or if challenger Mike Cooper, the former mayor of Covington, will ascend to the parish-wide position.
Both candidates are working to get their message out to voters.
"Hopefully, people will see what I've accomplished in the last eight years and understand that I have more to do and I want to do more. This is a great parish,” said Brister.
Cooper said he is well-equipped to assume the parish presidency.
"As mayor of Covington, I’ve served for eight years serving our citizens within the budget that was presented to us, within the revenue that we received and I want to do the same thing at the parish level,” Cooper said.
Brister believes she has achieved a lot of ‘wins’ as parish president.
"The highway money, our tax money that we brought back to St. Tammany Parish. We brought back over a hundred million dollars for our roads and interstates,” she said.
Cooper says the experience he gained as mayor will help him work with existing parish revenues to get things done.
"I believe we've got the revenue that we need to handle our great parish government and I want to spend that money efficiently and effectively to serve our citizens,” said Cooper.
Among their top priorities is tackling infrastructure needs in the parish.
"To continue infrastructure, drainage and roads, that's always going to be an issue because we have people still moving over here. We still have one phase of the interstate to go back and get another grant for that third phase,” stated Brister.
Cooper agrees the infrastructure issues are serious.
"I want to address the infrastructure challenges that we have right now. Traffic, transportation and all of the infrastructure challenges that we're facing,” he said.
Brister said another one of her priorities is continuing the work at the Safe Haven campus in Mandeville. The parish bought the former Southeast Louisiana Hospital site to provide services for people with mental health problems and addictive disorders. And Brister said if reelected, she will also continue to fight for lower flood insurance rates.
"You know, when your flood insurance payment is as high as your mortgage that's not a good thing,” she said.
Cooper said another priority of his will be to change how new development is happening in the parish.
"Development needs to be done in a fashion that doesn't cause problems for our existing communities. There's building in the flood plains,” he said.
Cooper also said if elected, he would work to restore trust in parish government.
During the October 12 primary election, Cooper snared 48 percent of the vote and Brister was second with 41 percent, according to the Secretary of State’s Office.
Both believe they have a winning strategy for the runoff.
"I feel momentum, I continue to feel momentum,” said Cooper.
"I think the turnout is going to be better this time,” Brister said.