My term in the board of the national scouts organisation ends at the end of this year, and it's time to yield for some fresh ideas. But what to do next? Last night it was confirmed that next spring I'll be working on my election campaign – I was confirmed as one of the Green party candidates for city council in Turku.
The environment and nature have always been important for me. In Turku there have been some good decisions towards a more cycle-friendly city, but there's still work to be done until cycling is truly understood as an equal form of travel. People are also re-finding their relationship with nature, and Turku has some amazing natural amenities starting from the Kurjenrahka national park to the small parks and archipelago sights. Maintaining and developing them requires resources and commitment.
I've volunteered for years in the largest youth organisation of Finland. The young are very close to my heart – they're our future, after all! The challenges of every young person left behind are first small, but are bound to multiply if they're not solved on time. Getting slim savings from the important work with the youth will make for much more difficult and expensive issues in the future. That's why we have to ensure adequate resources for youth work, schools and mental health services even when the financial times are tough.
An important part of caring for the young is also keeping the city economy in balance. Raising the public debt is not a sustainable solution, and we can't leave a continuously growing debt to the future shoulders of the young people. We have to invest smart so, that all investments pay themselves back in the best possible way for the citizens and the city. It's also important to support our companies by providing good services and space to grow business in order to ensure the city retains the current employers and also gains more jobs for the growing populace.
I'm also a (sometimes very) vocal advocate for good and open governance. The city has been doing a pretty good job in opening it's IT solutions as open source and for also by opening some data sets, for example geographical information, to the open. However there are still some critical data sets already published by most other larger Finnish cities that are kept behind locks by Turku – the most prominant example being procurement data. The city of Turku must strive to be a frontrunner, not a follower, in openness among the other major Finnish cities.
For these, and various other, reasons I eagerly await next spring and the elections, which provide a great platform for a florishing discussion on the issues we all care. Follow my social media channels (links in the upright corner of this page) and this site to stay tuned – I'll be discussing my views of all the important issues regarding the city of Turku later this year and especially in the spring. See you around!