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Lawmaker John Kivela Dead Of Suicide

May 10, 2017

Michigan State Rep. John Kivela (D-Marquette)
Credit Michigan House Democrats / housedems.com

There were tears and hugs on the floor of the state House Tuesday as colleagues got word that state Representative John Kivela took his life – one day after his second arrest on a charge of drunk driving.

House Speaker Tom Leonard announced that sessions are suspended until Thursday to mourn the passing of the Democrat from Marquette. 


“I’m sure today is the toughest day we will experience this term together.  And I truly have no words about the loss of our dear friend, John Kivela.” 

Governor Rick Snyder says he and Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley were recently with Kivela. 


“So our thoughts and prayers are with he and his family.  Really sad day.  He was a great guy.  Actually, Brian and I were both with him most of Friday, so we’ll miss him.”

State House Democratic Leader Sam Singh asked people to keep Kivela’s wife and children in their prayers.


“I know the days that will be coming before us will be difficult, but I  hope we can cherish his memories, the impact that he has had, and, however, you pray and worship that you keep him, and Sandy, and the kids in mind.”  

Kivela’s body was found in the home he owned in Lansing Tuesday morning.  That’s after he was released from the Clinton County jail following his arrest.  Kivela was 47.  He is survived by his wife and two children. 

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— Rick Pluta is the Managing Editor and Reporter for the Michigan Public Radio network.  Contact WEMU News at 734.487.3363 or email us at studio@wemu.org