About Maria

Maria’s accomplishments are based on the foundation her immigrant parents set as an example. Maria, a first generation Mexican American, saw how her parents set out to make the American Dream come true for them. Her father worked two jobs while attending school to ultimately become an electrical mechanical engineer. Her mother, entrepreneurial sprit opened her own business specializing in designing and dressmaking. And while her parents were successful in their own right, Maria saw that she could do more to help folks like her parents.

Maria attended excellent public schools during her K – 12 years, and then went on to Loyola University of Chicago to earn degrees in Criminal Justice and Organizational Communications. Maria believes that meeting and studying with the vast expanse of students all through her education prepared her for her studies at the John Marshall Law School and beyond.

During and after graduating from Loyola, Maria settled many cases through mediation at the Chicago Justice Center. Then while attending law school, many Latinos would come to Maria to explain the harassment and discrimination they were experiencing from nearby Melrose Park store owners. Maria would write letters calling out the store owners, and seek compensation on behalf of those wronged, and the store owners would comply with the requests.

After graduating from law school and passing the Illinois Bar exam, Maria worked as an attorney with the U.S. Department of Labor litigating workplace safety and health violations, including death, and representing Black Lung victims who were being denied their benefits from the coal mining companies they worked for.

Maria and her husband, Ken, have three sons, and upon the second son being born, Maria got involved with her local Chicago Public School, becoming the highest vote getter as a Parent Representative in the first Local Council elections in 1990 for Sayre Language Academy. Eventually, while Maria’s oldest was at Sayre Language Academy, her second son would attend the Alexander Graham Bell School in Chicago where he learned cued speech and American Sign Language, as he was born profoundly deaf.

Ken and Maria chose to move out to Lake County to raise their family.

Maria went to Harper College to learn a new career and eventually opened a successful corrective exercise studio. She also got involved working with the local public school district to improve voter outreach in connection with an upcoming bond issue. She has also served on several boards and volunteered to advocate for important causes such as women’s rights and environmental issues.

In 2022, Maria was asked to run for the State Senate and actively engaged with residents by going door-to-door and listening to their concerns about unfair taxes, unsafe neighborhoods, and threats to privacy and freedom, personally knocking on over 5,000 doors prior to the 2022 Primary.

As a passionate candidate for the 26th district seat in the Illinois Senate, Maria was committed to replacing the then current out-of-touch, NRA-sponsored Republican Party Minority Leader in Springfield. She came within 385 votes of winning. He was removed from his party leadership before the final votes were even counted.
As a volunteer lobbyist, Maria has been committed to fighting for legislation that promotes women’s rights, keeping streets safer, and enhancing the effectiveness of law enforcement and the judicial system.

That remains her commitment in this campaign for the Illinois State House 52nd district.

It’s worth highlighting, unlike many candidates who fade into the background after not winning on election night, Maria wasted no time continuing her active involvement and support for Democratic organizations and causes.

Immediately after the election, Maria passionately engaged in various roles, demonstrating her commitment to making a difference. She was appointed State Elections Lead for MOMS Demand Action (MDA), where she played a pivotal role in ensuring candidates seeking the MOMS Demand Action Distinction award and endorsement from Everytown received their respective candidate questionnaire if they supported gun-sense legislation.

Notably, Maria also lobbied with MDA for the Protect Illinois Communities Act (PICA) contributing to its passage, and most recently lobbied with MDA to press legislators to pass additional smart gun-sense laws. Her dedication and proactive approach ensure that she continues to make a meaningful impact on the causes that reflect her core and the community’s values. She also proudly serves as the Chair for the DEI Committee with the Barrington Rotary Club, actively working towards promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion within Rotary.

Residents in the district know Maria. They remain actively inspired by Maria’s energy, eloquence, innovative ideas, and accomplishments. As they recognize her dedication to their well-being, support for Maria’s candidacy is already growing. While Chewy, FrankieG, and Max (and Ken) may wish for more time together, they continue to support her busy schedule as they know Maria is determined to positively impact the community she holds dear.

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