Hi! I am Satu Taavitsainen, MP of the Social Democratic Parliamentary Group, chair of the Mikkeli City Council and chair of the Finnish National Cooperation Organization of the Unemployed. I am also a member of the Mikkeli Social Democrats. I repsent electoral district of Southeast Finland.
I graduated as a Bachelor of Social Services in 2001. Before I was elected as MP, I worked as the executive manager at Estery (Support Association for Health and Social Sector Organizations in South Savo).
I am 40 years old and live in Mikkeli with my husband Aki and our three children. I warmly welcome you to visit my website and see my personal values. If you wish, you can also send me e-mail messages: firstname.lastname@example.org, or call me, my telephone 0440905546.
My assistant: Merja Pulliainen, telephone: 0503061120. E-mail: email@example.com
Present memberships in committees:
Parliamentary Trustees of the Social Insurance Institution of Finland (deputy member) 09.06.2015-
Political Priorities – Here you will find my political standpoints
I think that people must come first. This means that people are at the center of what I wish to achieve. I think that everybody should be able to live a better and happier life, not only the wealthy and rich. We social democrats support both gender equality - it´s fundamental that men and women have equal value - and equality between persons. Equality won´t grow automatically, but we need to work together for it. According to my values, no one shall be discriminated at any level. I believe that solidarity brings a better future for all of us and, most importantly, for our children.
Being a city councillor in Mikkeli is a demanding, though at the same time a very meaningful task. It is local politics where we politicians are closest to citizens because decisions we make have direct and often far-reaching consequences on everyday life. This task also offers a good opportunity to develop my hometown where I was born. I grew up in the countryside, so I care about it and want to make both rural communities and Mikkeli city areas flourish.
I understand that a healthy economy is necessary for a municipality so that it is possible to offer good services for the inhabitants. However, I don´t think it´s fair to freeze services of those who need them the most. I am especially worried of the impacts of unemployment and the scarcity of job opportunities for the young. I strongly oppose the cuts in education, which I see as a very short-sighted policy. In today´s uncertain world, the wellbeing of children and young is not vital only to themselves, but for the whole society.
I always try to do my best so that people who have voted for me could have confidence in me and trust my party, too. Being a long-standing representative of the municipality and promoter of the rights of the poor, children, elderly and disabled, I truly understand that mandate derives from voters who have to be listened to. Persons and families living in distress have to get help and support. I am prepared to work hard to solve problems and achieve positive changes in their lives.
I think that administration is for the citizens and, therefore, I am devoted to act for people and bring politics near to them. We have to get rid of the distinction to ”them and us”. It is possible to make things happen and I am always willing to cooperate with others to achieve the best solutions for my hometown and its inhabitants. Let´s believe in ourselves and promote optimism for a better future – together!
Frequently asked questions:
- What are your principles as a politician?
I ask for honesty and diligence from colleagues, co-workers and, first of all, myself. I take a genuine interest in people; it is natural for me to listen to their needs and concerns. I also use to reflect on my own strengths, efforts and knock backs and try to learn from these experiences. It is useful to think how to deal with the feedback given. I don´t mean that you should try change yourself but it is important to check that you are acting according to your true values. Another thing is persistence; there are no easy victories and, so it´s better to concentrate on meaningful matters and be prepared to fight for them.
- What do you think of the sitting Government?
Well, I don´t think that they have done a good job. Some ministers are relatively inexperienced in their current posts, which has obviously caused problems in legislative work. The Government has been compelled to press the pause button and dump their propositions because they have been so strongly opposed to. Definitely, there should be less haste in the “sote” planning (healthcare and social welfare reform). In general, I would say that many things have gone backwards, for example, situation is now worse for the families with children, the elderly and the poor and, especially, for the unemployed than earlier on. Employment plays a very important role in our everyday life because losing a job brings about poverty. I think that the poor have the worst deal; they are expected to do their share, although we are well aware of the current high unemployment rate and the consequences of unemployment. Unemployment really is the most urgent problem that needs prompt solution. In addition, attitudes are getting harder nowadays. Immigrants and refugees face this frequently in the streets, in busses and metros as well as at the shopping centres. I honestly think that there should be a zero tolerance to hate speech as Antti Rinne, the party leader of the Social Democrats, has stated.
- How long have you been a city councillor and what are the main tasks of the city council after the possible “sote reform”?
I have been a city councillor since 2005 and I still find local issues important and interesting. In Finland, municipalities still have many responsibilities after the possible “sote reform” such as budgeting, education, city planning and public transport. So, if you wish to influence on local matters, go for municipal elections!
- What do MPs do during their working day and how do you maintain balance in you busy life?
For me it´s important to live by certain principles. First, I try to make my time in Parliament as productive as possible. Parliament sits in Helsinki, so I devote all my energy to parliamentary work there from early Tuesday morning to Friday afternoon. It is important to stay informed so I use to read local newspapers from my hometown over coffee in the morning and then catch up on national and international news. Meetings usually start around 8 am or 9 am and my committees meet in the mornings, too. I am a member in the Transport and Communication Committee and Defence Committee and deputy member in the Social Affairs and Health Committee. My party group, the social democrats, meets every Thursday to discuss how to tackle upcoming motions or draw attention to a specific issue in the plenum. I also try to see my parliamentary assistant at least once a week to chat issues that we have to prioritize. In the evenings, I prepare speeches or media releases, read emails, articles and reports related to my committee work and respond to invitations I receive every week. It is important to maintain balance between work and family life. During the weekends, I love to spend just an ordinary family life with my children and husband. Sometimes we may spend the whole Friday evening watching movies, relaxing and being together. We like active outdoor life very much, too. I am very happy every time I get a chance to go jogging in the forest with our Scottish collie.
- What advice would you give to those who think of becoming a politician?
If you want to effect change and are prepared to work hard, I would recommend making a political career. I started my political career at the local level. I feel very strongly that everyone should be able to follow his or her passion. However, we are not always good at figuring out what you want or what makes you happy. I became into politics because I had learned so many worrying stories about social injustices and I felt that the poor, disabled or persons with mental illnesses did not have a voice in the sense that they were paid so little attention to. I was passionate about effecting change and I still believe that change is always possible. Because things often change slowly, it is good to keep in mind that every swing into the right direction brings you are nearer the goal!