Covington Mayor Mike Cooper ended months of speculation on Thursday morning when he officially announced that he will run for St. Tammany Parish President in the October 2019 primary election.
Cooper, 65, was elected in a landslide victory in 2011 and reelected without opposition in 2015. His announcement released Thursday touted his work overseeing reforms at the Covington Police Department, balancing the city's budget in each of his eight years as mayor, improving infrastructure and municipal services among other accomplishments.
"My experience and success as Mayor of Covington has prepared me to lead Parish Government," Cooper said in the announcement. "Facing significant spending cuts, Parish Government needs a leader who will prioritize and make strategic decisions to ensure essential services are delivered effectively and efficiently. St. Tammany Parish needs a leader who will engage the public and the business community proactively and who will build positive and helpful relationships with the Parish Council, Municipal Governments, and State and National Leaders."
"When I ran for mayor in 2011, my campaign slogan was, 'The Right Leader, Right Now,'" Cooper said. "Today, that's changing. I enter this race now as "The Right Leader for St. Tammany Parish."
Cooper is a lifelong resident of St. Tammany Parish and is married to Catherine Guastella Cooper. He has two stepchildren and one grandchild.
Cooper earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree with a major in City and Regional Planning from the University of Southwestern Louisiana in Lafayette (now ULL). Prior to serving as mayor, he worked in local professional and corporate positions, and he served in leadership roles in numerous community and service organizations.
Cooper's term as mayor will end on June 30. He is the first known candidate to announce a bid to unseat Parish President Pat Brister, who has declared she will seek a third term.
The election for Parish President will be held October 12.