Maria Peterson is a dedicated advocate and community leader who has always believed in “Service Before Politics.”
As a resident of the Barrington area, Maria and her husband, Ken Peterson, raised three sons—Michael, Marco, and Mario—and they now happily live with their dogs, Chewy and FrankieG, and two cats, Max and Shadow. Maria does not fit the stereotypical political model. She brings a dynamic energy to the table that resonates with many fellow energetic Moms, Grandmothers, and women of the Northwest Suburbs.
Growing up, Maria witnessed the values of fairness, dedication, and community through the hard work of her middle-class parents, who immigrated from Mexico to provide a better future for their family. Maria recalls her vibrant suburban neighborhood, untouched by gun violence, where she attended excellent public schools, and had access to opportunities and hope for the future.
Maria pursued higher education at Loyola University of Chicago, earning a double major in Criminal Justice and Organizational Communications. There, she met her future husband, Ken. Maria worked as a mediator at the Chicago Justice Center during her years at Loyola. Her passion for justice led her to The John Marshall Law School. Throughout her time there, Maria used her mediation skills to assist victims of discrimination and secure statements of apology and financial compensation. Upon graduation from law school, Maria served as a litigation attorney for the U.S. Department of Labor, where she fought for the rights of coal miners during Black Lung hearings and litigated workplace safety violations.
Maria and Ken settled in the suburbs to raise their family. It was there she started a successful fitness business while actively engaging in volunteer work and civic activities to uplift others and improve her community. In addition to her fitness business, Maria also showcases her green-thumb gardening skills by growing vegetables and donating them to local food pantries.Over the years, she has served on numerous boards, including the Citizens Utility Board (CUB), the North Barrington Planning Commission, the Barrington Breakfast Rotary Club (where she served as past President), and the League of Women Voters as Environmental Co-Chair.
In 2022, Maria 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.
As a passionate candidate for the 26th district seat in the Illinois Senate, Maria was committed to replacing the 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.
Also in 2022, Maria was committed to fighting for legislation that promotes women’s rights, keeps streets safer, and enhances 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 Peterson 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 Breakfast 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, and innovative ideas. As they recognize her dedication to their well-being, support for Maria’s candidacy is already growing. While Chewy, FrankieG, Max, and Shadow (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.