She was alderman for the VVD in Ommen, worked in education for a long time and has mediated in recent years in conflicts between citizens and the government. Who is Ilona Lagas, the upcoming BBB party leader in the Senate?
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Ilona Lagas (67) is the woman with whom Mark Rutte will soon have to do business in the Senate. Five years ago she was still a VVD alderman. But now her criticism of that party is not tender. “I no longer see the difference with D66,” she says. And where members used to call the shots, that has become the party leadership under Rutte, she thinks.
But those hard nuts do not stand in the way of cooperation, Lagas believes. “There are enough couples who divorce, but keep going through a door. For the children.”
After the indirect election in May – by the members of the Provincial Council – Lagas probably leads the largest group in the Senate. With Lagas, Caroline van der Plas is joined in The Hague by a woman who seems to feel just as at ease in front of the camera. In recent weeks, Lagas joined Rick Nieman at WNL Op Zondag, among others.
“Ilona is a woman with her feet in the clay and one who rolls up her sleeves. A don’t talk but brush type,” is how Van der Plas describes her on the BBB site.
She grew up in the city, but wanted to become a farmer
The leader of the Senate for the Senate grew up in the city of Zwolle, although she preferred to be found on a farm near her grandparents. Farmer, that’s what she wanted to be. It didn’t get that far, but she did go and live in the countryside with her husband, first in Nieuwleusen, later in the hamlet of Vinkenbuurt near Ommen.
She became party leader of the VVD in that municipality, was alderman for spatial planning from 2006 to 2014, then chairperson again and briefly alderman. She left municipal politics three years ago, when she became a supervisor of public education in Zwolle and the surrounding area. She is also chairman of the supervisory board at abortion clinic Stimezo. The VVD turned its back on them in 2021.
Lagas started in healthcare and education
Her career began at Sophia Hospital, where she quickly rose to become head of the outpatient laboratory. She then worked for 25 years at Deltion College in Zwolle, where she taught German and social studies, among other things.
From 2014 she worked through her own consultancy. She did a lot of work on behalf of the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment, as an ambassador for the new environmental law, convincing critical local and regional officials. In recent years, Lagas has focused on conflict mediation. She supervised conversations between governments and angry citizens or companies.
Experience that can come in handy, she thinks. Talking to each other is my job.
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