Contact: ville.ylikahri (at) vihreat.fi, 041 516 5671.
I’m a 42-year-old vice member of the Helsinki City Council. I work as secretary general. of Visio, The Green Cultural and Educational Centre. I live with my husband in Helsinki’s Punavuori district.
I studied history at the University of Helsinki and am an active member of various organisations. I got sucked into politics at the Student Union of the University of Helsinki, when I was elected to its representative council as a member of its Green group in 1999.
During my student years I worked as a substitute teacher, and after graduating I taught history at a variety of schools. I later took the job at Visio, The Green Cultural and Educational Centre, where I’m currently employed as secretary general.
I was a candidate in municipal elections for the first time in 2000. I’m currently a member of the Helsinki Region Transport and the chair of the Helsinki City Museum Board. I’ve been chair of the Helsinki Greens 2008-2011. (Full CV in Finnish)
In addition to politics, I’ve been actively involved in promoting gay rights. During my student years, I was the chair of the association of gay and lesbian students. I served my non-military service at SETA, Finland’s NGO for LGBTI rights. I have been one of the organisers of Gay Club Botox and Mr Gay Finland competition, the profits from which were donated to hlbti charity. I also participated in the It Gets Better campaign for raising awareness about bullying and homophobia in schools (watch the video on You Tube).
Now I’m running for the City Council again. The following municipal elections will be held 9th April 2017.
Helsinki is a great city, but if we want our hometown to remain as one of the world’s best places to live, we will have to change the way in which we operate. The age-old saying ‘think global, act local’ is now more pertinent than ever. With clever decisions we can make Helsinki a better place and together solve the world’s biggest issues.
Building our city
More and more people want to live in the densely built inner city, hence we should increase construction. In order to save our green spaces, Helsinki should, nowadays, have taller buildings. We should also make the change from fossil fuels to more renewable energy sources.
As a board member of HSL, I have seen that transport will soon be confronted with major changes. Express trams, electric busses, city bicycles and soon self-driving cars will change the way in which we move. We need to boldly introduce new solutions. Traffic and emissions are combatted with well thought-out plans, congestion charges and both a reasonably priced and efficient public transportation system.
Everybody as one
People have always moved to Helsinki in search of prosperity and employment, both from elsewhere in Finland and abroad. People from all walks of life are what make Helsinki. We should hold on to this and strive to support those who do not do so well by themselves. We should not permit the development of areas of depravity in Helsinki. Basic human rights and freedoms should not be violated under any circumstances, whether it be religious or ideological.
Let’s hold on to culture!
Education is needed now more than ever. We need to ensure that every school in Helsinki is a good school. The brilliant museums, libraries, adult education centres and youth services of Helsinki support everybody’s lifelong learning and sense of doing things together. Let’s ensure that Helsinki’s vibrant cultural scene has sufficient space to flourish!
My election themes 2012: Building a greener City
We have to build new metro and tram lines to avoid traffic jams and to prevent climate change. When public transport is fast, safe and affordable, everyone in the city moves smoother.
When public services are near, the everyday life is easier and we can avoid unnecessary traffic. It is easy to maintain schools, libraries and grocery stores near, when city is build in a compact way. You have to be able to walk to the nearest store in every part of Helsinki.
We have to do our part to prevent climate change. We have to save energy and use renewable energy sources instead of burning coal. The parks, the coasts and the forests are important to the city residents and that’s why we have to protect them. We can build a more compact city and at the same time preserve the green areas. The Baltic Sea needs our protection.
Tha city has to build more biking lanes, plan biking routes better and build safe bike parking spaces. We have to make biking the easiest and safest way to travel in the city. Biking is a way to travel and we have to separate it clearly from the sidewalks and walkers. Biking lanes needs to be in a good shape all year round – also in winter.
Helsinki has changed: there’s a lot going on in the streets and squares and parks. Yet it’s too hard to organise a happening in Helsinki. The bureaucracy shouldn’t discourage people and companies to organise all kinds of events in Helsinki. Open terraces in restaurants should be allowed to be open also after 10pm.
There are all kind of people living in Helsinki. The fact has to taken in to account when the city plans it’s services. It is important that the schools, kinder gartens and health care centers are in good shape and that the teachers, nurses, doctors and other personnel understand the needs of different people, like sexual minorities.
Read also my themes for the parliament elections 2011:
Human and environmental well-being
These elections will determine the direction of Finland’s future. Finland must be kept open and liberal; we must not become prisoners of our prejudices. It’s time to move from words to action in fighting climate change and breathing new life into the Finnish welfare state.
The Green economy is a balanced economy
We need to get the indebtedness of the state and municipalities under control through fair taxation, reducing bureaucracy, and investing in green growth.
Climate change is threatening to change living conditions on the earth in unpredictable ways. Finland needs to see the passage of environmental legislation that commits us to reducing emissions by 5% a year.
Economic growth does not make people happy; we need other measures alongside GNP. Distributing work more flexibly and increasing opportunities for job flexibility according to life situation are good ways of raising our standard of living.
There’s no such thing as a true Finn
Everyone should be equal before the law. Finland needs marriage legislation that treats gay and straight people equally. All types of discrimination, bullying, and hate crimes must be taken seriously. It should not be possible to violate an individual’s basic rights and freedoms in the name of any religion.
Finland cannot close its doors. Finland has benefitted from EU membership and open, global trade. A clear system needs to be established for immigrant language instruction, and sufficient resources need to be allocated to it. Resident permit processes need to be streamlined in a way that makes it easier for foreigners to apply for jobs here.
Renovating social welfare and working life
According to the current system, you are either unemployed, in which case you are not allowed to work, or employed, which means you have few opportunities for flexible solutions. The basic income model proposed by the Greens would guarantee everyone a fair basic income. Steps towards the basic income model include the bundling of various agencies’ benefits and one-window service.
Policies should aim at evening out income disparity. The effects of energy and consumption taxes can be compensated to low-income residents through the basic income model and income tax reductions. Unemployed people need to be offered schooling, and a functional interim labour market needs to be established.
Finland’s most important capital is competence
We must ensure that every school in Finland offers students high-quality instruction and sufficient guidance. This is why education needs to remain free of charge at all levels and academic freedom needs to be guaranteed.
The division of roles between polytechnical universities and universities needs to be clarified. The humanities require investments too, not just technological and economic disciplines. Art and culture must be supported, and support for the arts should not be dependent on content.