He was an auto mechanic for over 20 years and even served as the Marquette City Mayor. Now he's the Michigan's State Representative of the 109th district.
Marquette native, John Kivela, represents Marquette, Alger, Schoolcraft, and Luce Counties and has a passion for public policy.
â??A lot of it came from, I think, being in local government and having a hand in helping shape and form the community,â?? said Kivela. â??We really have a wonderful quality of life in the Upper Peninsula, and I think most people recognize that.â??
In his first term as a state representative, Kivela strived to get Marquette and Delta Counties named as "Next Michigan Zones" of economic development: something he worked on as mayor.
While in Lansing, his daily schedule consists of committee meetings and time on the House floor, but his time in the district is spent speaking with his constituents.
â??It's how you prioritize your time,â?? he explained. â??I'm very busy. I'm on the clock all the time, but I also know the value of family and a personal life and not letting that erode too far.â??
He said his busy schedule and expansive district make it challenging to meet with everyone.
Because of this, Kivela said he's locked arm-in-arm with representatives Ed McBroom and Scott Dianda to make sure Yooper voices are heard downstate.
â??I'm very proud of the colleagues I work with and the team that we built in the U.P.,â?? he said. â??We've really, the four of us, agreed to check the party at the door and work together in the U.P., and we're starting to become effective.â??
Kivela said because of his experience as a mechanic, his focus next term, if elected, will be on vocational education.
â??Somewhere along the line, we switched from educating kids and children for their future and started educating them for college,â?? he said. â??That's great for a lot, for the majority of students, that's fantastic. But the students that could be a welder, a pipe-fitter, plumber, mechanic, carpenter, they're kind of being squeezed out.â??
After he's termed out of serving as a state representative, Kivela said he could see himself continuing in state government and will always have fervor for public policy.
â??I'm very proud to say that all of my colleagues that I work with want a better Michigan. They really do, and they all work towards that,â?? said Kivela. â??We disagree on how to get there sometimes and what those steps should be to get there, but everyone down here really is working hard to make this a better state.â??