Robert Mercado, first elected in 2017 for District 1 Commissioner, was reelected in 2020 . He attended Newark Public Schools and graduated from Barringer High School. He holds a Bachelor of Arts, Master of Social Work and a Master of Public Administration degree from Rutgers University. Mercado is involved in Newark’s Latino North Ward, and for the last 25 years has worked in the field of social work and juvenile justice in the state of New Jersey . He was, and remains a Regional Parole Supervisor at the Juvenile Justice Commission . Apart from juvenile justice, Mercado is also part of various Youth Advocate programs in Essex in Hudson counties such as Creative Consulting Services and La Casa de Don Pedro Community Center in Newark . Mercado was a former member of the New Jersey Supreme Court Committee on Minority Affairs and is currently involved with the North Ward Democratic Committee, serving as District Leader and Volunteer .
Mercado intends to focus on Juvenile Justice, permitting marginalized youth to reintegrate themselves into their communities. Working for the Juvenile Justice Commission, he has previously worked with law enforcement and civilians, allowing for juveniles to partake social services and school support 
Mercado also has an interest in advancing public safety within Essex County, with many of his relatives being law enforcement officers .
Essex County Board of Commissioners