News, Culture and NPR for Central & Northern Michigan
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
91.7FM Alpena and WCML-TV Channel 6 Alpena are off the air. Click here to learn more.

State Rep. Kivela dies, suicide suspected

Michigan House Democrats

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

House Speaker Tom Leonard (R-DeWitt) announced that Tuesday and Wednesday sessions would be cancelled to mourn Kivela’s passing.

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

“I know the days that will be coming before us will be difficult,” said House Minority Leader Sam Singh (D-East Lansing), “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. That’s after he was released from the Clinton County jail Tuesday morning following his arrest.

Kivela was 47. He is survived by his wife and two adult children.