My work as a Member of the European Parliament began on March 1, 2018. Before that, from 2007 to 2018, I worked as a Member of the Finnish Parliament from the Savonia-Karelia electoral district. I am the mother of two adult children and the wife of Petri, a farmer-entrepreneur. As for my education, I am an agrologist and a teacher of vocational subjects. I live on our dairy farm in the village of Venetmäki in Pielavesi, Northern Savonia. Originally, I am from Haapajärvi, Northern Ostrobothnia. My roots are in Ostrobothnia and Karelia. My mother’s family comes from Northern and Southern Ostrobothnia. My father is an evacuee from Karelia whose journey took him from Soanlahti to Haapajärvi.
My political career is strongly influenced by my gradual progress in politics. In other words, I have gained experience in both municipal and regional politics as well as in the national parliament, and at the same time, I have been active in various organisations. I feel that the different stages have been part of a natural continuum and the different tasks have supported each other.
My political career began in 2000 when I ran for the first time for the municipal council of my hometown Pielavesi. Already as a newly elected councillor, I became familiar with the chairperson’s gavel that I got to hold for three terms. I remain a member and vice-chair of the municipal council to this day. During that time, I also began working as a member of the regional board of Northern Savonia, which I did for eight years. The same time period includes my 11 years as a member of the Finnish parliament. In the parliament, I held such positions as the vice-chair of the Centre Party’s parliamentary group. In 2018, I became an MEP. During that time, I was also active in Centre Party’s organisations, I was for example the chairperson of the Women’s Organisation of the Centre Party for six years. Today, I am still a member of our party government and working committee where I represent our MEP group.
In politics, I have always been motivated by how it provides opportunities to ensure that justice prevails and people have the opportunities to make their own choices in life; in their studies, work and personal life. Political decisions should strive to inspire, not passivate, support communities and participation, not promote social exclusion, lift up instead of putting one down and encourage people to act responsibly with regard to themselves and their loved ones.
In the European Parliament, the sectors that are the most important to me, based also on my committee responsibilities, are agriculture, rural areas, regional development and international trade. The European Union exercises wide jurisdiction in these sectors, which makes them crucially important for Finnish food production and food security, equality in regional development, and our ability to compete on the international stage.