I am Li Andersson, 33 years, member of the Finnish parliament, chairperson of the Left Alliance and city councillor in Turku. I am currently on parental leave to take care of my little daughter Ava and will resume my work as Minister of Education in government after that. I was born in Turku in 1987 and have lived here all my life.
I have been active on politics for more than a decade and I am still driven by three major goals: to end poverty, to make the world more equal and to solve the climate crisis.
On the municipal level, I especially want to work for the welfare of children and youth, as well as our senior citizens. It is especially at the start and at the end of our lives that we are the most dependent on well functioning and high quality welfare services. In the aftermath of the global COVID pandemic it is even more important that the decision makers in the City Councils are committed not to repeat the mistakes that were made in the aftermath of the economic depression in Finland in the 90’s.
Before my life in politics I worked several different jobs. I have for example sat behind the cashier in Moomin world, worked as a hotel receptionist, as a waitress and dishwasher, translator and sorting fruits on a farm in France. I have also been the Secretary General of the Finnish School Students Union FSS, the district secretary of the Left Youth in Southwest Finland and an intern at the human rights NGO Civil Rights Defenders.
I have a Bachelor’s degree in political science. I have studied International Law at the University Åbo Akademi, specializing in international human rights and refugee law. I have also studied Russian language and culture.
In my free time I try to read as many books as possible, as it is both the best way to relax and the best way to develop one’s thinking. I also enjoy slow mornings, winter swimming, live music and spending time with my friends. I am an incurable coffee addict.
An equal Turku that fights poverty
I want to see Turku develop in an equal way, so that the interests and needs of low income earners are taken into account. Fighting segregation and divides between different parts of the city must be a goal that guides all decision making in Turku. We need more resources for social- and health care, education and youth services in the suburbs, resources should be directed to the areas where the need is the biggest. Important steps to fight poverty in Turku, especially among senior citizens with small pensions, is to build more community owned housing, abolish the fees at the public health care stations and to end using private companies to collect unpaid bills for used social and health care services.
Turku for children and youth
The COVID pandemic has affected children and youth especially hard. One of the most central goals for the next electoral term in the City Council is to invest in the welfare of children and youth, so that the negative consequences of the pandemic will be as short as possible. Not a single child must become a victim of bullying or violence in school. Turku must continue to develop student health care and counselling, as well as psychiatric services for young. It is important that the city continues to offer free sports hours for children and on top of that, that everyone would have the opportunity to attend at least one hobby free of charge. Turku also needs a permanent solution for the arrangement of education in cases where school buildings are taken out of use, due to problems with mould. The city also needs a big investment programme so that we can ensure healthy and safe school buildings and learning environments for all students. The Left Alliance does not approve of cuts in education or early childhood education and care. More resources are needed especially for special education and smaller groups.
For culture and art in Turku
Turku is well known for its cultural and art life. Sufficient working spaces for artists has been a problem for many years and no real solutions have been reached. Turku needs a permanent working space solution for artists, for example for the ones that are forced to leave the Barker building. The Rettig palace in the city center could be a perfect spot for a cultural centre, with room both for performances and shows as well as for working spaces. Turku also needs a new and functioning concert hall. It must be possible to find a suitable venue for the new concert hall through co-operation with all the actors that it concerns, to avoid long legal disputes over the current proposed building site. As a city known for its cultural life, Turku must also make sure that 1 percent of the budget of new buildings is used for art works, and that public art is a part of all new residential areas.
Climate justice in Turku
Turku has set its target to be carbon neutral by the year 2029. The regional energy solutions are key for Turku to succeed in reaching this target. Sustainability criteria is needed for the biomass that is used and in the Turku region more solutions are needed that are based on energy efficiency, energy storage and heat production which is not based on burning. The citizens need more information about geothermal heating and the use of solar panels. Turku should invest in a tram and work for the tram to become a regional solution in the next phase, with tracks going to Kaarina and Raisio as well. Well functioning and affordable public transport is important for low income earners. Everyone should have the possibility to make environmentally friendly choices.