MARQUETTE - Democrat John Kivela collected more than 58 percent of the vote Tuesday and was elected to represent the state's 109th District in the Michigan House.
"I'm very humbled by the great turnout of support and I look forward to serving this district," Kivela said this morning.
Kivela of Marquette defeated Jack Hubbard, R-Grand Marais, by a vote of 23,321 to 16,583.
"I really want to thank my supporters," Hubbard said today. "They're passionate for the cause and we worked real hard to try and make a difference here ... it just didn't pan out for us."
During the campaign, both candidates touted their experience in state and local government.
In his six years on the Marquette City Commission - four as mayor - Kivela has worked with Lansing on numerous issues and highlighted professional relationships with state legislators and Gov. Rick Snyder's administration.
Similarly, Hubbard has served as the supervisor of Alger County's Burt Township for six years and oversaw the long-awaited reconstruction of the Grand Marais Harbor breakwater. That process regularly took him to Lansing, where he met with representatives and bureaucrats.
Kivela said that as state representative, he would like to focus on jobs and the economy.
He said his main goal "is helping to bring more good-paying jobs to the district. Jobs solve a lot of issues."
When more money is brought into the state treasury, he said there should be more money for other important issues, like education funding.
Though he won't officially take the seat for a few weeks, Kivela said his preparation for the task will begin immediately.
"Actually, I start today at about 2 o'clock ... when I head down to Lansing," he said.
There are orientation sessions in Lansing on Thursday and Friday for incoming state representatives.
"I'm going to spend the next month and a half learning as much as I can about the job," Kivela said.
Kivela will fill the seat being vacated by state Rep. Steve Lindberg, D-Marquette, who cannot seek re-election due to term limits. Lindberg has served in the house since first winning election in 2006.
The 109th District includes Alger, Luce and Schoolcraft counties and most of Marquette County.
Hubbard said that, with the defeat, his political career is likely over.
"I have no interest (in seeking office in the future)," he said. "I'm not a career politician. I'm just somebody who was trying to make a difference a little, and it didn't work out."
Kivela said he will attend Tuesday's Marquette City Commission meeting, where he will officially relinquish his seat on that body.
Kyle Whitney can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250.