Ken Mercer

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Kenneth Broderick "Ken" Mercer

(Member of the
Texas State Board of Education)

Political party Republican

Born July 1955
San Antonio, Texas
Spouse Rosalia Mercer

Kenneth Broderick Mercer, known as Ken Mercer (born July 1955), is a technology project manager and a Republican politician from his native San Antonio, Texas. For one term from 2003 to 2005, he was the District 117 member of the Texas House of Representatives.[1] In 2004, he won the first of his currently three terms on the elected Texas State Board of Education as the representative for District 5, which includes all of eleven counties plus portions of populous Bexar and Travis counties.

Background

Mercer and his two sisters, Patricia (husband Phillip) Dapeer and Sharon (husband Bobby) Barnes, are the children of Daniel Hall Mercer (1919-2002), who served in the United States Army Air Corps in World War II and the United States Air Force in the Korean War and was thereafter a career technical sergeant.[2] In 1950, Daniel Mercer married the former Mary Dalia Almaguer (1929-2015), the mother of Mercer and his sisters. The senior Mercers are interred at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery in San Antonio.[3]

Mercer holds a Bachelor of Science degree in biology from the University of Texas at Austin, a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Texas at San Antonio (2005 "Alumnus of the Year"), and a Master of Business Administration in finance and management from St. Mary's University, also in San Antonio. He is a member of the Delta Mu Delta Graduate Business Honor Society.[4]

Political life

Mercer handily won his party's nomination for the state House in the primary election held on March 12, 2002, by defeating Janie Martinez Gonzalez, 1,304 (63 percent) to 765 (37 percent).[5] On November 5, 2002, Mercer defeated the Democrat Raul Prado for the right to succeed the retiring five-term Democrat Representative John Amos Longoria. Mercer polled 12,703 (59 percent) to Prado's 8,138 (41 percent).[6] In the House, Mercer served on the Higher Education, House Administration, and Transportation committees.[1]

In 2003, Mercer was named "Legislator of the Year" by the San Antonio Police Officer’s Association. He is a former member of the Texas Homeland Security Council and formerly served on the Texas State Republican Executive Committee.[4] On November 2, 2004, Mercer lost by 498 votes his bid for a second term in the House. He received 19,209 votes (49.4 percent) to 19,707 (50.6 percent) for the Democrat David McQuade Leibowitz.[7]

In 2006, Mercer rebounded politically to unseat fellow Republican Dan Montgomery in the race for the Texas Board of Education. After an indecisive primary election, Mercer prevailed in a runoff contest, 13,359 votes (61.4 percent) to 7,776 (38.6 percent).[8] In the general election, Mercer defeated the Libertarian Party candidate, Bill Oliver, 234,807 (71.1 percent) to 95,406 (28.9 percent). No Democrat filed for the seat that year.[9]

In 2010, Mercer won his second term, this one for two years, on the state board of education by defeating the Democrat Rebecca Bell-Meterean, an English professor at Texas State University in San Marcos, 262, 699 (59.3 percent) to 160,233 (36.2 percent). The Libertarian Mark Loewe held the remaining 20,052 ballots (4.5 percent).[10] He won his third term to the board in 2012 by again defeating Rebecca Bell Metereau but in a closer outcome, 338,705 (51.3 percent) to 281,445 (42.6 percent). Libertarian Mark Loewe ran again and drew 28,407 votes (4.3 percent). The Green Party nominee, Irene Meyer Scharf, held the remaining 11,717 votes (1.77 percent).[11]

Mercer sits on the state board's school finance committee which oversees the Permanent School Fund, the largest education endowment in the United States. He is a member of the state board's Committee on School Initiatives and the vice chairman of the committees on School Initiatives and Instruction.[4] Mercer has been known for his conservative views regarding the formulation of state standards in science and history. He is politically allied with Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick and supported the failed bid of United States Senator Ted Cruz of Texas for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination.[12]

On March 1, 2016, Mercer was a candidate for re-nomination to a fourth term on the state board in the Republican primary election. Wayne Christian, a former state House member and the incoming Republican member of the Texas Railroad Commission, called Mercer "a rock-solid conservative with the backbone to stand up to the Far Left!"[12] In the November 8 general election, Mercer again defeated the Democrat Rebecca Bell-Metereau, who had described him as "a solid vote for the most extreme and misguided decisions. He's still pushing for a vision of public education that is really contrary to how we were founded as a nation, the idea that free public education was a backbone of our nation."[13] In her statement against Mercer, Bell-Metereau implied that public education dates to 1789 instead of primarily the latter half of the nineteenth century. She questions Mercer's support for expanded charter schools and the emphasis in Texas on standardized testing. An advocate of American exceptionalism, Mercer rejects Charles Darwin's theory of evolution,[13]

Though he lost the Austin precincts, Mercer defeated Bell-Metereau in the overall District 5, 382,914 votes (49.6 percent) to 352,097 (45.6 percent). The remaining 36,412 ballots (4.7 percent) went to Ricardo Perkins, nominee of the Libertarian Party. Had the Libertarians voted for Bell-Metereau, she would have unseated Mercer.[14]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Ken Mercer. Texas Legislative Reference Library. Retrieved on February 22, 2016.
  2. Daniel Hall Mercer. Findagrave.com. Retrieved on February 22, 2016.
  3. Mary Dalia Almaguer Mercer. Findagrave.com. Retrieved on February 22, 2016.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 SBOE Member District 5. tea.tsxas.gov. Retrieved on February 23, 2016.
  5. 2002 Republican Primary Election. Texas Secretary of State (March 12, 2002). Retrieved on February 23, 2016.
  6. 2002 General Election. Texas Secretary of State (November 5, 2002). Retrieved on February 23, 2016.
  7. 2004 General Election. Texas Secretary of State (November 2, 2004). Retrieved on February 22, 2016.
  8. 2006 Republican Party Primary Runoff Election. Texas Secretary of State (April 11, 2006). Retrieved on February 23, 2016.
  9. 2006 General Election. Texas Secretary of State. Retrieved on February 22, 2016.
  10. 2010 General Election. Texas Secretary of State (November 2, 2010). Retrieved on February 22, 2016.
  11. November 6, 2012. Texas Secretary of State. Retrieved on February 23, 2016.
  12. 12.0 12.1 Ken Mercer. Facebook. Retrieved on February 22, 2016.
  13. 13.0 13.1 Gilbert Garcia, "Professor makes 3rd run at SBOE stalwart", San Antonio Express-News, August 19, 2016, p. A2
  14. Election Returns. Texas Secretary of State (November 8, 2016). Retrieved on November 9, 2016.