The Democratic nominee in the 109th District race has also been involved in regional politics for many years.
And, like his Republican opponent, he’s a native of Marquette.
John Kivela worked in his family’s business for about 20 years.
He now works as general manager of Jon’s Auto in Marquette.
Kivela has been on the Marquette City Commission since 2006, and he’s served as Marquette’s mayor since 2008.
He says there were a lot of factions battling one another politically in the city six years ago, as well as a great deal of divisiveness in the communities surrounding the city.
But he says the City Commission has done a great deal of coalition-building both within the city and with the city’s neighbors, and he says it’s helped everyone.
Kivela says he would be a strong advocate of K–12 education and vocational education in Lansing.
He says vocational programs are all but dead, and that needs to change.
Kivela says he believes the Michigan Merit Curriculum has gone a bit too far, no longer providing most students the time during the class day to take vocational classes if they’d choose to.
He says welding shops at U.P. high schools are sitting dormant at a time when the one job in the greatest demand in the U.P. is welding, and he says we need to do better.
Before being elected to the City Commission, Kivela served on the Marquette Board of Zoning Appeals for about six years.