Maria Antonia Berrios

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Maria Antonia Berrios
Member of the Illinois House of Representatives
from the 39th district
In office
Succeeded by Will Guzzardi
Personal details
Born (1977-04-24) April 24, 1977 (age 39)
Chicago, Illinois
Political party Democratic
Religion Roman Catholic

Maria Antonia "Toni" Berrios (born April 24, 1977) is a former Democratic member of the Illinois House of Representatives. She was the first Puerto Rican American woman to serve in the Illinois House. She represented the 39th District from 2003 through 2015. Berrios was a second-generation Representative in the Illinois House, being the daughter of Joseph Berrios, formerly a member of the Illinois House of Representatives, and currently the Cook County Assessor and chairman of the Democratic Party of Cook County.

Early life, education and career[edit]

Berrios is the daughter of politician and lobbyist Joseph Berrios, currently the Cook County Assessor and chairman of the Democratic Party of Cook County, and formerly a member of the Illinois House of Representatives and a Commissioner on the Cook County Board of Review, a property tax appeal panel. Berrios graduated from Northeastern Illinois University with a Board of Governor’s Degree,[1] a non-traditional degree.[2]

Berrios held a life insurance agent license which expired in June, 2012 and has been inactive since June, 2013.[3] Berrios worked for the Illinois Liquor Control Commission as a tobacco compliance specialist.[1] She also worked for the Cook County Recorder of Deeds.

Illinois House of Representatives[edit]

The 39th District of the Illinois House of Representatives was newly created in the 2001 redistricting after the 2000 census to encourage additional Hispanic representation. The district is on Chicago’s Northwest Side and includes parts of the Avondale, Belmont Cragin, Hermosa, Logan Square, and Portage Park neighborhoods. At age 25 and newly graduated from college, Berrios ran unopposed in the 2002 primary and general elections.[4][5][6] Berrios was the first Puerto Rican American woman to serve in the Illinois House of Representatives.[7] Berrios' political action committee, Citizens for Maria A. Berrios, has received campaign contributions from many of the same property tax appeal law firms that contribute to the multiple campaign funds controlled by her father, Joseph Berrios, who is the Cook County Assessor and a former Commissioner on the Cook County Board of Review.[8][9][10] Berrios' political campaign committee has received tens of thousands of dollars in contributions from the campaign fund controlled by Michael J. Madigan, the Speaker of the Illinois House and chairman of the Democratic Party of Illinois.[11] In October, 2010, Berrios' campaign committee contributed $50,000 to her father's campaign for Assessor.[12][13]

Berrios has been a member of the Illinois Legislative Latino Caucus Foundation since its founding in 2004. In forming the Foundation, each of the Hispanic Representatives in the Illinois House selected a member of its Board of Directors, and Berrios selected lobbyist Alfred Ronan of Ronan Potts LLC. For two years, the group failed to register and file financial reports with the State of Illinois and was fined. Ronan Potts LLC paid a $350,000 fine after admitted to a multimillion dollar bid-rigging scheme in the expansion of McCormick Place.[14][15] Berrios chairs the Board of Hispanic Caucus Chairs, a national organization of Hispanic legislative caucus leadership from 12 U. S. states and territories.[16]

On February 14, 2013, Illinois Senate Bill SB10, the "Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act," legalizing same-sex marriage in Illinois, passed the Illinois Senate, was introduced into the Illinois House, and had its first reading in the Illinois House. On March 12, 2013 Berrios was added as an Alternate Co-Sponsor of SB10 in the Illinois House of Representatives. She was one of 24 Representatives to sign on as Chief Sponsor, Alternate Chief Co-sponsor, or Alternate Co-Sponsor, and one of 19 Alternate Co-Sponsors, in the Illinois House. The Illinois House passed SB10 and Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed the bill into law in November, 2013.[17]

In the Illinois House, Berrios chairs the Financial Institutions committee and is a member of the Executive, Insurance, International Trade and Commerce, Mass Transit, Tollway Oversight, Tourism and Conventions, and Biotechnology committees.[1]

Berrios conceded defeat in the March 18, 2014 primary election in which she sought re-election to a seventh term.[18][19] Capitol Fax editor Rich Miller called the primary "the ugliest race in Illinois."[20][21]

Personal life[edit]

Berrios is a former member of the Board of Directors of the Girl Scouts of Chicago.[1] She is on the Board of Directors of Tabula Rasa, a proposed transitional living program to address serial incarceration of male high school and college students.[22]


  1. ^ a b c d "Representative Maria Antonia Berrios (D)". Illinois General Assembly. Retrieved 17 March 2011. 
  2. ^ "Board of Governors Degree". Northeastern Illinois University. Retrieved 2014-02-26. 
  3. ^ "Licensee Look-up". Illinois Department of Insurance. Retrieved 2014-02-26. 
  4. ^ Joravsky, Ben (January 29, 2004). "A Father's Love". Chicago Reader. Retrieved 2014-03-02. 
  5. ^ "Illinois House of Representatives". Chicago Tribune. November 7, 2002. 
  6. ^ "Joe Berrios Gets Financial Boost From Daughter's Campaign Fund". The Huffington Post. November 1, 2010. Retrieved 2014-03-03. 
  7. ^ Felsenthal, Carol (October 2011). "Will Guzzardi: 24, Ivy League-Educated, and Running Against Joe Berrios's Daughter". Chicago Magazine. Retrieved 2014-02-26. 
  8. ^ Bernstein, David (October 2010). "Cook County Campaign Contribution Limits to Board of Review Not Being Enforced; The Friendly Bar: A county effort to cap campaign donations by property tax attorneys turns out to be toothless". Chicago Magazine. Retrieved 2013-09-18. 
  9. ^ Mihalopoulos, Dan; Little, Darnell (2010-01-29). "Assessor Candidate Benefits From Property Tax Lawyers". The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-09-18. 
  10. ^ "The Back Room". Chicago Sun-Times. March 11, 2002. 
  11. ^ Chase, John; Kidwell, David; Long, Ray (June 5, 2012). "Madigan consolidates power by holding sway in legislative races; House speaker's massive campaign operation chooses winners and losers in primary battles". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2014-03-08. 
  12. ^ Cox, Ted (October 27, 2010). "Claypool lays out Cook tax shift, blames Berrios, clout". Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, Illinois). Retrieved 2014-03-08. 
  13. ^ "Races for Cook County Assessor, Board President, and Board of Review Combine for $3.6 Million Fundraising". Illinois Campaign for Political Reform. October 27, 2010. Retrieved 2014-03-08.  External link in |publisher= (help)
  14. ^ Gibson, Ray; Cohen, Laurie (October 15, 2004). "Hispanic legislative group fails to register". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2014-02-26. 
  15. ^ "ILLCF Foundation Governance". Illinois Legislative Latino Caucus Foundation. Retrieved 2014-03-02. 
  16. ^ "Members". Board of Hispanic Caucus Chairs. Retrieved 2014-02-02. 
  17. ^ "Bill Status of SB0010". Illinois General Assembly. Retrieved 2014-03-01. 
  18. ^ Long, Ray; Zurick, Maura (March 18, 2014). "Berrios concedes defeat in fight for state House seat". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2014-03-21. 
  19. ^ Mihalopoulos, Dan (March 18, 2014). "Guzzardi handily defeats Berrios in 39th House race". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2014-03-21. 
  20. ^ Miller, Rich (March 12, 2014). "The ugliest race in Illinois". Retrieved 2014-03-21. 
  21. ^ Mihalopoulos, Dan (March 11, 2014). "Berrios-Guzzardi race about more than hipsters vs. Hispanics". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2014-03-21. 
  22. ^ "About Us". Tabula Rasa. Retrieved 2014-03-02. 

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