A 100-year-old woman has embarked on a new career in politics after being elected as a councilor in her west German town on Sunday.
Centenarian Lisel Heise, part of the grassroots group “Wir für Kibo,” won the most votes of any council candidate in Kirchheimbolanden, a town of 8,000 people.
Wir für Kibo (We for Kirchheimbolanden) campaigns for sustainable development, citizen participation and youth engagement.
Klaus Hartmüller, mayor of Kirchheimbolanden, a town in the south-western state of Rhineland-Palatinate, told CNN: “She is mentally and physically strong and fit to do the job.”
“Lise Heise just turned 100 years in April and decided to run for the council only in spring this year. And she got in! Not only that but she advanced from the list of 20 candidates from number 20 to number 1,” he said.
Heise, a former teacher and a passionate swimmer, based part of her election campaign on reopening the local outdoor pool.
“Even until her late 90s she used to go swimming a lot in our ‘Freibad’ — the outdoor swimming pool that closed in 2011. Swimming and the re-opening of our outdoor swimming pool is her heart’s desire,” added Hartmüller.
Heise had tried in the past to draw attention to the plight of the pool.
“The microphone was often turned off when I started to speak about the swimming pool, and then of course you stop, there’s no point,” Heise told Reuters.
“But now that I’m 100, I’m in a different position. Now I have the chance to open my mouth and say something.”
In addition to re-opening the pool, Heise also has set herself another big task: to help get a youth and children’s club up and running, Hartmüller told CNN.
“The youth has been pushed into second place here,” Heise told German news channel n-tv.