Kuva: Roni Rekomaa

Me, Petra 

I am 42 years old and I have lived in Helsinki for the most of my life. I got into municipal politics because as a social worker I witnessed things that I could not influence as much as I felt that was necessary, and I realized solutions would need political decisions. Currently, I am a member of the city council as well as a member of the board of education and care.

I am standing as a candidate in the parliamentary elections because our future depends on better decisions about climate, education and social politics. In the city council, I have defended education against budget cuts and made initiatives for increasing the wages of the jobs where the workers are predominantly female (this is now being implemented by the city), for reducing the emissions of air travel, for extra personnel to education, for the safety of pedestrian crossings, for promoting street art and for making use of left-over food. In the education board I have defended special education, sufficient amount of staff and the equal right for early education for all children.

I am working as a special adviser to the Minister of Social Affairs and Health Hanna Sarkkinen. I am a PhD. (doctoral) candidate of social work in the University of Helsinki. Before starting my work at the university, I have worked as an social worker for adults in eastern Helsinki and as a senior social worker in Espoo. In my dissertation, I examine the implementation of art-based methods in social work for promoting democracy and participation. I have a master’s degree in political sciences with a major in social work. I also have a Bachelor’s degree in Social Services. I have also worked as a social advisor for adults, youth and the elderly. I am a feminist: human rights, the environment and animal rights are important for me. On my free time, I have participated in various activities in human rights organizations.

What is the deal with the budget cuts to education in Helsinki? Read more on my Facebook page!

My Campaign Goals

A city of good education and training 

Basic education must ensure an equal starting point for everyone, regardless of their background or place of residence.

Efforts must be made to ensure the quality of early childhood education. There must be enough staff present, every day and at all times.

Special support for learning should be available to all those in need, in early childhood education as well as in primary and secondary education.

The municipal supplement for home care allowance must be returned to 1-2-year-olds.

Non-discrimination and equality must be the starting point for all education and training, from early childhood education onwards. We must work against structural racism every day.

Qualified staff must be valued also in terms of pay: salaries in the education sector must be raised and working conditions must be improved.

Preparatory education must be invested in, and Finnish as a second language should be taught depending on the needs of children and young people.

The resources for upper secondary education need to be put in place and the quality of vocational education needs to be better ensured. The value of vocational training must be raised.

Students must be provided with support for coping in the circumstances of a pandemic.

Bullying must be tackled and serious cases resolved in cooperation with experts in the area. Education in empathy and emotional skills must be provided from an early age onwards.

All young people in Helsinki need to receive secondary education and every young person must be supported to get an education that interests them.

A city of good social and health care services

Services must take care of everyone and the services must be easy to find. Social and health care services need collaboration and teamwork, not centralization.

Investment in basic services must be made in such a way that the need for special services is reduced in the future. We must dare to invest in prevention and low-threshold services.

Competent social and health care workers must also be valued in terms of pay: wages in the sector must be raised and working conditions must be improved.

Social work and social services require adequate resources and there needs to be a maximum limit for the amount of clients per worker.

Users and employees of services must have the opportunity to participate in decision-making and influence the services. The importance of peer support needs to be better taken into account in services.

Recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic requires investments in social and health care services. The needs of the vulnerable must be taken into account when taking care of social and health problems that were left untreated or were caused by the pandemic.

Mental health services must be accessible at a low threshold, and the therapy guarantee must be implemented in Helsinki. The city must work actively to reduce loneliness and invest in suicide prevention.

There needs to be quick access to services for the homeless and for people with substance abuse problems.

Debt counseling and housing consultation must be available more widely.

A city of living culture

Art and culture are the heart of Helsinki. The cultural sector is in a deeply challenging situation and its potential must now be safeguarded. New types of solutions must be found for the livelihood of artists, and the city must provide artists with facilities and opportunities to make art. The distribution of cultural grants must take place on a fair basis.

Equal opportunities for all to participate in art and culture must be guaranteed. More art to the streets and to public spaces, including social and health care services and education! It must be possible for people to take part in cultural events regardless of their income level.

New art forms and applied art must be supported alongside established art forms, and not consider these as opposites.

The role of the arts must be strengthened in schools. All children and young people should also have the right to practice the arts.

An equal city

It must be ensured that the city’s staff reflect the diversity of Helsinki and that recruitment practices or workplace practices are not discriminatory. City facilities and operations must improve their accessibility and adhere to the principles of a safer space.

The municipal supplement for home care allowance for children over 1 year of age must be returned. Cutting the allowance will not alleviate the situation of low-income parents.

An ambitious wage program needs to be established in order to achieve equal pay in Helsinki.

The city must be guided by non-discrimination and anti-racism in all its activities. Helsinki must take active steps to eradicate discrimination and inequality, and it must be possible for all Helsinki residents to be involved in the decisions that affect them.

Services for people who have experienced violence (and preventive services for perpetrators of violence) need to be accessed quickly.

A city of urban nature and environment 

The climate crisis must be tackled in cities as decisively as the pandemic: the emissions of housing, transport and consumption must be reduced rapidly. Helsinki must become carbon-neutral!

Urban biodiversity must be protected by protecting green spaces and by tackling light pollution (excessive lighting) and air pollution. Both people and animals belong to Helsinki and they all must have the opportunity to spend time in Helsinki’s parks, forests and yards.

The air quality in Helsinki must be improved and traffic emissions must be reduced.

In the city’s services we must move towards a more plant-based and ethically produced diet.

The city should continue to reduce emissions from traveling, and favor remote meetings and rail travel on business trips, even after the pandemic, whenever possible.

The energy efficiency of buildings must be improved, the quality of construction must be invested in and indoor air problems must be solved.

Conditions for cycling and walking must be improved and investments must be made in the safety of pedestrians and cyclists.

The price of housing in the metropolitan area must be addressed by building more affordable housing, so that everyone has equal access to housing.

Read my answers to Yle’s Election Compass here!


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