Minister of Transport Merja Kyllönen
Merja Kyllönen was born at the Oulu University Hospital on a wintry January day in 1977. Merja spent her childhood in Suomussalmi.
She went to school at the Ämmänsaari and Ruukinkangas comprehensive schools and completed her matriculation examination for the Ämmänsaari upper secondary school in 1996.
In those years, Merja was active in student activities, and she chaired the student union in both comprehensive and upper secondary school. After matriculation, Merja worked for six months in basic care for the elderly. In January 1997, she returned to student life and earned her qualification as a biomedical laboratory scientist from Oulu Polytechnic in spring 2000. While at the polytechnic, Merja worked as a shop assistant in summertime and at a dry cleaner's during the winter – so she has gained experience of different kinds of work over the years.
During the final stretch of her studies, Merja's aunt got her interested in local politics and returning to Suomussalmi. She stood as a candidate in the 2000 local elections and was elected to the Suomussalmi municipal council. In the 2004 local elections, she gained the highest number of votes of anyone in Suomussalmi. In addition to the municipal council, Merja served for a few years as a member of the education and culture board and the municipal board. In the 2004 regional elections, she was elected to the Assembly of the Regional Council and later as a member of the Board of the Regional Council. Merja also holds a number of positions of confidence – she has been on the Tradeka Board of Representatives since 2004 and the equivalent for Service Union United PAM since 2006.
Merja stood as a candidate in Parliamentary elections for the first time in 2003, in the Oulu electoral district. The doors to Parliament did not open for her then, but she was elected in 2007, with more than 7,000 votes. Merja's political career was extended in 2011 when, in April, she was elected for her second term in Parliament and, after a lengthy process of government formation talks, appointed as Minister of Transport in June.
Merja spends her leisure time in Kainuu, where she walks outdoors with her three dogs or chops wood. Poems and other forms of cultural enrichment help to ease the cares of the world.
The destination is not what counts, nor are rigid objectives. What is important is that you try to do your best and reach the goal.