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Jaime Mercado, a man of integrity!

Created: 24 October, 2014
Updated: 13 September, 2023
4 min read

Candidate Jaime Mercado
Candidate Jaime Mercado

Jaime Mercado served on the Sweetwater Union High School Board during the heyday of public corruption and when the indictments came down Mercado was highlighted as being singularly the cleanest and honorable member serving on the board.

In his four years on the Sweetwater Board, from 2004 to 2008, he never once so much as went to lunch with a contractor or vendor doing business with the district. He saw this as inherently wrong and just said no to those lunch offers. Now he wants to bring this integrity to the Southwestern Community College Board.

As the lone maverick, unwilling to go along with the status quo that the other board members all too often accepted, Mercado often times found himself bucking the trend on the school board and on the losing side of most votes. During this time he was often described as a some sort of trouble maker, a loose cannon of sorts, and he was often at odds with then Superintendent Jesus Gandara, who just recently was released from prison for corruption. To say the least it was a difficult four years where he often felt like he was running in placing going nowhere with many of his ideas, and having to deal with the in-fight that went on behind closed doors.

So we wondered why Mercado, who is a retired educator, would want to put himself back into a tough situation.

Mercado shakes his head as if wondering that same question is it really worth it, then, he thinks about all of the experience, connections, and knowledge he gained as a Sweetwater Board member and the good he can do by applying them for the good of the students to “re-establishing and even making a stronger the connection between Sweetwater district and Southwestern College.” Mercado went to describe the way it used to be. “We had a very good working situation from the ground level, which included coordination of programs and articulation of curriculum, which made it easier for our kids to get into Southwestern College. They could even earn some of the credits, like the 2+2 program, a lot of this just fell by wayside.”

Beyond district coordination, Mercado wants to make Southwestern College the go-to-college when it comes to learning a trade. “I see many of my kids from Mar Vista, Palomar, and other schools earning $9 and $10 dollars an hour and I can’t imagine how they would ever be able to raise a family and be on their own.”

“We need to have an option, a viable public option for kids who don’t go on to a four year college,” continued Mercado. “There is no reason we can’t have a path that leads a kid to getting a certificate or a degree as a plumber, an electrician, a diesel mechanic, any of those trades that can earn them $50 – $60 – $70 dollars an hour.”

Jaime Mercado knows about hard work and what it takes to earning a living, without a degree or a trade.

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Growing up in San Ysidro Jaime had to drop out of school after the tenth grade to help the family pay bills. He took odd jobs at a car wash and in the fields picking tomatoes. Instead of becoming a lifelong labor, these types of jobs helped him to mature and recognize of the importance of getting an education.

“I returned to school in the evening at Mar Vista Adult School and was inspired and motivated by a teacher, Mr. Burke Mills, who took an interest in me. I completed the 11th and 12th grades in six months. More importantly, I found a new direction and mission in life, to become a teacher and join Mr. Mills in helping students. I earned an A.A. from Southwestern College, a B.A., an M.A., a teaching credential, and a school administration credential from San Diego State University.”

“During the thirty-two years that I worked in the Sweetwater District, I served as a teacher aide, a teacher, an assistant principal, and principal in various schools, including Southwest Junior, Southwest High, Montgomery Junior, Mar Vista High, Palomar High, National City Junior, and National City Adult School,” stated Mercado.

Jamie Mercado is a family man, married to Anita, with two grown daughters, both graduates of college, one a speech pathologist and the other is a doctor.

As a candidate for Southwestern Community College Board he has proven himself to be an honest dedicated man focused on the education and providing opportunity for all the students of the community. An opportunity for those students who want to achieve a degree and an opportunity for those students who want to start a career.

This is Jamie Mercado, no political ambitions beyond this election, no frills, just a dedicated person with a keen sense of right and wrong. Southwestern Community College community would be served well to have him elected to their board.

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