State lawmakers are mourning the loss of Democratic state Representative John Kivela of Marquette. Kivela apparently took his own life on Tuesday at a home he owned in Lansing. It was one day after his second drunk driving arrest in two years.
Friends, colleagues, and family members posted tributes on social media after his death. Many of them talked about Kivela’s personal struggle with alcoholism and the horrors of addiction.
“We’re all going to remember you for the memories we made with you, John. You made mistakes along the way but we all do. You had your demons and they got the best of you. I hope that others will learn from your story and get the help they need when they need it. Mistakes were made but that’s not the John I’m going to remember.
Warm smile, salt and pepper hair, Upper Peninsula charm, a bear in the Legislature.
That’s my John Kivela.”
“The mood here, as you might expect, is somber, grim,” says Pluta. “Kivela was a nice guy. He was well-liked. He was also bi-partisan enough that Republicans at least thought about maybe trying to recruit him as a Republican to run for the (state) Senate seat up there.”
Click on the audio player above to hear the full conversation.