Merced said his views as a Libertarian began with his upbringing. He said he was raised mainly by his Guatemalan immigrant mother, who worked her way out of poverty and into the middle class after his Puerto Rican father left. He said he believes in the free market to change life for the better, and his agenda includes several items that would reduce government regulation. He said he would use tax reform to increase families’ disposable income and ability to save and would reform “the policy drivers of health care, housing and education.” He proposes a 20 percent flat tax with a refundable credit based on the taxpayer’s age, and creation of a “rainy day” savings account that would include IRAs, health care savings accounts and other accounts to cover unemployment, education, health care, family leave and retirement. For businesses, he proposes a new “America Corp,” a corporate designation that would be tax free in return for locating all assets and employees in the United States, and allowing employees to vote for one member of the corporate board. Merced also would roll back the U.S. policy of regime change in other countries, end the war on drugs and over-criminalization of drug offenses, and increase the visibility and security of transgender people.
Merced, 31, is running for U.S. senator on the Libertarian Party line. It’s his second campaign for elected office after unsuccessfully running in 2013 as the Libertarian candidate for New York City public advocate. Merced is a corporate trainer in the financial industry, founder of a social media and marketing company, and a former retail store owner. He has a bachelor’s degree from Bowling Green State University. He is the web chairman of the Brooklyn Libertarian Party and the co-media chairman of the Manhattan Libertarian Party. He lives with his wife in Brooklyn.