Lauded as one the most influential American Latinos under 40 and as among the top Latinas in Government and Politics, Maria Teresa (Petersen) Kumar is the founding Executive Director of Voto Latino, a leading national civic engagement organization targeting acculturated American Latino youth. In the 2008 presidential election, Voto Latino leveraged social media and celebrity participation in five battleground states, all of which saw Latino voter participation increase 5% or more above the national average. Its innovative initiatives " including launching the first national mobile voter registration campaign "have won wide recognition and praise and today, Voto Latino is expanding its civic engagement to include issue based advocacy such as green jobs, education, and healthcare.
Currently a MSNBC political analyst, Maria Teresa appears regularly as a commentator on several MSNBC programs including HardBall with Chris Matthews and Morning Joe. Shehas also beena frequent guest on CNN's AC 360 and American Morning, FOX, NPR, and Telemundo. Maria Teresa started her career as a Legislative Aide for former Democratic Caucus Chairman Vic Fazio, managing international trade issues and appropriations.