Jessie Thill, 21, was just elected to the Walferdange council, where she will be one of seven women to hold a seat
Photo: Jessie Thill
When the Walferdange polling stations closed on 8 October, 21-year-old Green Party candidate Jessie Thill got in the car and drove back to university in Strasbourg. That’s when she got the call from her mum telling her she had been elected.
“I was totally surprised. I never thought I would be elected,” she told Delano four days later. But while she modestly says she never expected the result, the final-year student will be no new-comer to the world of politics when she is sworn in to the communal council.
“I’ve been interested in politics since the age of 16. It was my dream to go into politics when I got older,” she said, explaining that she served on the Luxembourg Youth Parliament, as vice president of National Conference of Luxembourg students, and has been actively involved with the Luxembourg Red Cross.
Thill is also an active sportswoman, having played basketball and cricket and practiced karate for several years. These accomplishments were recognised when she was awarded the Zonta International Young Woman in Public Affairs award in 2015. Since then she went on to begin a bachelor’s degree in Strasbourg in physics and earth science.
Now in her final year of her programme, it was her studies which made her hesitate when she was first invited by the Green Party in Walferdange to join their list in spring. “Now I see I can do it and I’m going to do everything I can to make it possible,” she said.
Her slogan before the elections was to help to build an attractive future for everybody in Walferdange. Thill thinks that perhaps what helped boost her standing was the fact she and the Green Party had sent a letter to all the young voters in the commune for whom it was their first municipal election. “We encouraged them to go and vote. I think maybe it encouraged young people to vote for me,” she said on 12 October.
Thill was one of 13 candidates on the Green Party list, from which just two candidates won seats. In addition to bringing down the average age by a few notches, she is also one of seven women to take up the 13 seats on the commune council.
“I think it’s important young people and especially young women are on councils in Luxembourg. Because if you look around Luxembourg there are so many men who were voted in,” she said, adding: “It’s really important that young people are involved because we are the future. We will live the consequences of the decisions made today.”
While still processing the decision, the young politician stresses she will do everything she can in her new role, which she will hold for six years.