Runoff election held for public works spot

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- For all the hotly contested races on November 5, only one of them saw a runoff. The race for a position as Commissioner of Charleston Water System will be decided Tuesday by voters in a runoff election.

Voters will decide between incumbent William Koopman and Catherine LaFond. According to election results, LaFond came out on top of the race with 44 percent of the vote to Koopman's 37 percent.

Both candidates visited our studios Tuesday morning for live interviews. LaFond shared with viewers why she decided to enter her name in the race.

"I think there are things that they are not testing for,"candidate Catherine LaFond said. "For instance the PCPP's that we are putting out in the water system and new innovations to figure out where our pressure systems are so we don't have to wait for a break in order for us to determine where the problem is."

New to the political realm, LaFond says she has gotten support in the race from knocking on doors, various woman groups, and the LGBT community. LaFond is openly gay and had this to say about the national attention her race has gotten from a Washington D.C. LGBT advocacy group which named the race as one of their '10 Races to Watch.'

"I have support from all walks not just the LGBT community, as well as the women's community," LaFond said. "I think we need change. I think the government needs new people so we have a fresh perspective and hopefully move forward with progress."

LaFond faces incumbent William Koopman who was elected to the current public works commission position back in 2007.

"I've had 30 years experience, but more importantly, it's what you do with that experience and I am a servant of the public and all I care about is serving the public. That's my life's goal. I have been doing it my whole life. It's not about self; it is about service," candidate William Koopman said.

When asked about what he has done for the Charleston Water System, Koopman said, "The thing I really brought to the table was a change of culture. We are not inspectors we are gatekeepers; we want to help people."

Koopman has been endorsed in the race by Mayor Joe Riley of Charleston.

"I am a public servant I care about people that is my only goal in life is to help people. I am not here for a cause, purpose, or history I am here to serve," Koopman said.

Polls are open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and for a list of polling locations and voting information click here.