About Maria

Maria Peterson is a lifelong believer in Service before Politics, and she is running so that she can be the voice for all the constituents of the 26th District. Maria grew up in the Western Suburbs of Chicago in a hard-working, middle-class family.

After attending public schools, Maria attended Loyola University of Chicago, where she double majored in Criminal Justice and Organizational Communications, and interned as a mediator with the Chicago Justice Center. It was there that she met her soul mate and husband, Ken Peterson. She then attended the John Marshall Law School, where she learned to be an effective and compassionate advocate, writing letters to call out stores or employers that discriminated against the local Latinos in Melrose Park. After passing the Bar, Maria opted to become an attorney at the U.S. Department of Labor litigating workplace safety violations and arguing on behalf of coal miners during the Black Lung hearings to fight for the benefits they were due. 

Twenty-five years ago, Maria and Ken moved their family to the Barrington area from Chicago for less density, more green space, and lower taxes. As a retired attorney raising her three sons in the Northwest Suburbs, Maria started and ran her woman-owned company, FitCore, Inc., to help those who needed continued strength training after being released from physical therapy, in addition to offering personal training and small group exercise classes. 

Maria continued to pursue volunteer and civic opportunities to help others and to better her community for the greater good. She has served on numerous boards, including the Citizens Utility Board (CUB), the North Barrington Plan Commission, the Barrington Breakfast Rotary Club as past President, and the League of Women Voters as Environmental Co-Chair. As a 30-year member of Sierra Club, she has also served as a volunteer advocate.

Maria’s first run for office was in 1990 when she was elected as a parent representative for one of the very first Local School Councils established in Chicago to promote better communication and policy between parents, teachers, and the administration. In 2018, she ran as the Democratic candidate for Lake County Board, District 17, which she narrowly lost. Now Maria is poised to focus on the pressing issues that affect the values, needs and quality of life of her constituents within Illinois State Senate District 26, such as: protecting women’s rights, the environment, jobs and the economy, health care, and mental health care.

As a passionate environmentalist, Maria is also a member and volunteer with Citizens for Conservation and a member of Barrington Area Conservation Trust. She loves to grow vegetables and donates to the local food pantries. She and her husband continue to plant new trees on their property in their small part to keep the area green and healthy. They are loving pet owners to one dog and three cats.

“I am thrilled that I can bring my skills of listening, mediation/negotiation, research and analysis, and advocacy to the table. I delve deeply into learning the subject at hand so that I can understand both sides of the issue, represent my client and/or constituent, and collaborate for a favorable outcome. I will be part of the solution, and not beholden to party line positioning. I want to be YOUR advocate. I want to hear YOUR stories, share them in the State Senate, and create legislation that benefits YOU, the constituents of the 26th Senate district.”