Espoo City Council Reserve Member
National Coalition Party
Thank you for your support! I am grateful to be a member of the Espoo City Nuorisoasiainjaosto (Youth Matters Sub-Committee) - part of the Kasvun ja oppimisen lautakunta (Growth and Education Committee). This was one of my preferred placements, and a great place to put my work experience to good use.
Education. Environment. Entrepreneurship.
Using My Background to Enable Positive Change
I am an American Finn. Born and raised in the U.S., I met my Finnish wife after university, and we moved our young family to Finland in 2008. We quickly learned that Espoo was a great fit for us, so after learning Finnish, I enthusiastically adopted Finnish citizenship. I work in the Espoo school system and am fully engaged in the broader Espoo community, both as a professional educator and an active parent of teenaged kids.
Espoo is a wonderful place to live; it is both diverse and international, yet still proudly Finnish. It boasts both exceptional beauty and great opportunities for hobbies and civic life. So what can make Espoo even better? I've learned that not all residents have had the same positive experiences living here that I have had. In particular, many immigrants and non-native Finns feel they have no influence on society, so they do not vote in local elections.
The pandemic poses increased economic challenges, and I worry that many entrepreneurs have fallen on hard times. Additionally, a lack of English-language study places in basic education means international talent often cannot accept employment opportunities in Espoo due to this uncertainty for their children.
Our slow progress in reaching carbon-neutrality is also worrisome. I believe people genuinely want to reduce their carbon footprints, but need support and incentives to realize those objectives. For example, Espoo should provide bio-waste collection points, add more car-charging stations, increase the number of electric bus lines, and ensure that public facilities are powered with sustainable energy.
Finally, I would focus on improving available services and information in English. If Espoo wants to attract and retain foreign talent in the workforce, and also wants its current non-native residents to be informed and engaged citizens, then effective communication is requisite. Espoo has improved its English language services, but there is still a ways to go.