Local Election 2021: Among people and pews, with Conservative virtues

Karina Bergmann
Standing for election: City of Copenhagen
Party: The Conservative People’s Party (in Danish Det Konservative Folkeparti)
Profession: Communications Consultant
Education: Master in Cross-Cultural Studies, University of Copenhagen, 2014
Civil status: Married to Jakob Tørring. Child: Eva Bergmann-Tørring (2020)
Age: 36

Already a member of the City Council of Copenhagen, Karina Bergmann hopes to get re-elected on November 16th. After becoming a mother, family and family values have become central to her as a politician. She spoke to CPH POST a late sunny afternoon about her campaign ‘For Copenhagen, Culture and the Family’.

Why should international residents vote for the local election?
One should always use the opportunity to take part in the representative democracy. Vote! Many people in this world are not as privileged. But then again, I have been in politics for more than ten years, so that is easy for me to say, but I do like to encourage people. Not only to vote, but to take part in the local community. Local politics affects childcare services, kindergartens, public schools and playgrounds. All in all, all the things that make up daily family life. If you have trouble finding a parking lot nearby, it is due to a decision made by local left-wing politicians. As a conservative, these decisions go against what we wish for families.

Why do you think you would appeal to the international community?
I, myself, have a foreign background being adopted from South Korea. Nonetheless, I call Copenhagen my home. Because home is where the heart is. Not being ethnically Danish, I focus on values – not skin color. And conservative values are important to great many people around the world. Religion, for instance, is something we share, not necessarily the same kind, but being part of a religious community. I, myself, is a Christian and it is important for me that my daughter also has a Christian upbringing. I was recently invited to the Great Synagogue by The Jewish Community in Denmark. And as a newly elected member of the Vesterbro Parish Council, I hope to bridge the two communities and many more. Also, my local church, Elijah’s Church, located at Vesterbro Torv, hosts monthly services for expats in English. So come and join us. Lastly, a fun fact being that the church is designed by Martin Nyrop, who is also the architect behind Copenhagen City Hall. 

One of the key points of your election platform is family life. What do you think the city needs to do in order to improve on that topic?
In Denmark some children start childcare at the age of eight months – contrary to what the family wants. This I would like to change for the better. In Copenhagen, families can apply for a subsidy for “home care” if they choose to take care of their child themselves at home. This subsidy I wish to increase. This is something we conservatives wish to do in all of Denmark. Also flexible childcare service is another solution for parents to spend more time with their children. We should be given the option to choose between either an early morning or late afternoon childcare service and only pay for half a day instead of a whole day. The Municipality of Ballerup offers flexible childcare service – and so should Copenhagen.

The Conservative Party is known for being a strong supporter of business and the private sector. How are you going to approach that should you be re-elected? 
As the capital of Denmark, Copenhagen needs to be a lot more private sector friendly. Lower taxes, less regulation and documentation. The public sector in Copenhagen is huge – often at the expense of private sector jobs and the family. I want to make way for entrepreneurship, small businesses and big ideas. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has deeply affected a number of sectors in the city, including tourism and the restaurant industry. What does the city need to do to address this?
Danes are extremely proud of the accomplishments of Noma, Geranium and other gourmet restaurants in Copenhagen. Tourists come here to experience new nordic cuisine and much more. However the restaurant business is not given the best terms, in fact it is heavy regulated. We conservatives wish to change that. This is just one way to create more jobs in the private sector.

Culture life in Copenhagen is also among your central priorities. How does your election platform seek to improve culture in the city?
Copenhagen has an important history and historic landscape, these we must preserve. The same goes for our cultural legacy such as castles, churches, cultural institutions, parks and the old inner city harbour. Personally, I am very fond of our art institutions. The National Gallery of Denmark with its permanent collection of Danish Golden Age Painters, this is a must-see. Also the new Museum of Copenhagen in Stormgade is worth a visit. Living at Vesterbro, I am lucky to have City Hall, Tivoli, The Meat Packing District, music venues such as Vega and Pumpehuset, the art cinema Vester Vov Vov and lots of theatres within walking distance. What we lack, however, are sports facilities. A priority for me is harbour baths, inside and outside swimming facilities, football fields and indoor facilities for children to explore dancing, gymnastics etc. 

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