Minister of the Interior Päivi Räsänen
I was born in Sonkajärvi on 19 December 1959. I spent my childhood and youth in Konnunsuo, Joutseno, in South Karelia. My family now lives in Riihimäki. I have been on the Riihimäki Town Council since 1993.
I started as Minister of the Interior on 22 June 2011. In accordance with its mission statement, the Ministry is working to build a safe, responsible and caring Finland. Immigration and church issues became the Minister's responsibility with the last change of Government.
When I took my matriculation examination I wondered whether to become a doctor or a nuclear physicist. At school, mathematics and physics were among my favourite subjects. I decided to apply to the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Helsinki. After six years of studies, I graduated as a Licentiate of Medicine in 1984. I started to work as a physician on the Internal Medicine Ward of the Riihimäki District Hospital in 1985-1988. I was a private physician from 1988 to 1992 and an occupational health physician for government employees between 1992 and 1995.
My interest in politics grew at the beginning of the 1990s, after I had turned thirty. Although the Christian Democrats was the clear choice for me right from the start, I decided to stand in my first parliamentary election in 1991 as an independent candidate; four years later I became a Member of Parliament. In 2003 I was elected chair of our parliamentary group and in 2004 I became party leader of the Christian Democrats. In 2011, our party was entrusted with a powerful and important ministerial portfolio at the Ministry of the Interior.
While a physician, ethical questions sparked my interest in social issues. Among the many Government projects, the welfare programme covers a lot of the issues that matter to me. People's overall well-being is not built solely on external things such as their financial situation. There is a need for internal balance, for people to care for one another and enjoy good relations. My reasons for entering politics are very much to do with issues around the protection of life.
I live in Riihimäki with my husband and our younger children. In 1985, I married Niilo Räsänen who is a Doctor of Theology, pastor and the rector of the Finnish Lutheran Mission College. We have five children: Sakari (b. 1988), Saara (1990), Mirjami (1992), Esteri (1994) and Juulia (1996). I look to strike a happy balance between work and family life; this is important for the well-being of the family. Sundays are dedicated to the family and recreation.
I enjoy nature in the great outdoors and I love cross-country skiing. During Finland's beautiful summers I enjoy spending time with the family at our summer cottage. I have written seven books and I am a regular columnist in newspapers and magazines.
I chose the Christian Democrats above all because of the party's understanding of what a human being is. The foundation of a society is the set of values it is based on.
Uuden lääketieteen uhrit 1989
Jumala loi naisen 1991
Eutanasia: vastaus kärsimyksen ongelmaan? 1993
Syvyys ja syli: lääkärin ajatuksia masennuksesta 1995
Kutsuttu elämään: kirjoituksia perheestä ja ihmisarvosta 2002
Mitä maksaa ihmishenki? Keskustelukirjeitä elämän arvosta 2006 (Matti Myllykankaan kanssa)
Päivien ketjusta – uskosta ja arjesta 2007