BRISTOL, PA – Today, Kennedy Democrats PAC announced its endorsement of Johanny Cepeda-Freytiz for Pennsylvania State Representative. Cepeda-Freytiz is running in the new Assembly District 129 in Berks County and centered in Reading, where she currently serves as President of the City Council. 

“Johanny is the right choice for Pennsylvania Assembly – she’s a successful entrepreneur, civil servant, and a tireless advocate for the people of Reading,” said Patrick J. Murphy, co-founder of Kennedy Democrats and former Army Under Secretary and member of Congress. “Folks in Reading can rest assured that if they send Johanny to Harrisburg, she will continue to fight for their needs and be an excellent representative.” 

Cepeda-Freytiz is a first generation American, entrepreneur, and leader in the city of Reading. She has earned accolades for her business savvy and currently serves as President of the Reading City Council.

Kennedy Democrats is a Pennsylvania State Political Action Committee devoted to electing a new generation of Pennsylvanians outside of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. In 2019,  80-percent of the organization’s endorsed candidates won their competitive races, helping to flip five counties in the state blue. Kennedy Democrats is now focused on flipping the Pennsylvania House and Senate. 

When Johanny Cepeda-Freyitz was first approached about running for the Pennsylvania’s House of Representatives via its 129th District, all she could think about was God and her dad, Luis.

Luis had a motto in life, and it’s one he passed down to his daughter that she’s carried to this day. 

“Querer es poder.”

“When there’s a will, there’s a way.”


Johanny Cepeda-Freyitz is one election win away from being the first Democrat to rep PA’s 129th District in Harrisburg.

He was one of 14 kids in his family, born in the Dominican Republic. Luis was middle of the pack age-wise, and true to his motto, was the “go-getter” of his siblings, according to his daughter, who recently sat down with AL DÍA to talk about her journey to politics.

At seven years old, that meant shining shoes to help his parents afford plantains they’d boil to feed their children. Luis also dropped out before reaching middle school because he needed eyeglasses to participate, and his parents couldn’t afford them.

When Luis was 19, he came to New York City and began work in a factory. It was one of the many jobs a young Johanny would see her dad take up to support the family.

Her mom, Ana, also had that same fierce, independent streak. Also born in the Dominican Republic, she grew up in similar circumstances to her eventual husband as the youngest of 16 kids. When her parents couldn’t afford to send her to a school she was adamant about going to, Ana also dropped out. But that wouldn’t be the end of her education career.

She moved to the U.S when she was 18 on a mission not to be like the other women in her family.

“She didn’t want to be a housewife or a stay-at-home mom like all her siblings. All of the women, all her sisters, were all stay-at-homes,” said Cepeda-Freyitz. “She was like: ‘No, I’m breaking the mold.’”

Ana went back to school, got her GED, learned English, and eventually landed a job with then-Chase Manhattan Bank. She also met Luis along the way, and started a family that settled in Washington Heights, New York City.

That same drive Ana demanded of herself, was also passed on to her daughter, even if it drove Johanny insane more than a few times

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City Councilwoman Johanny Cepeda-Freytiz was appointed council president unanimously at a council meeting Monday. The term will run until the end of 2023.

Johanny Cepeda-Freytiz

Cepeda-Freytiz replaces Jeffrey S. Waltman Sr., who died June 13 of natural causes.

Waltman had been a member of council since 2000 and served as president since 2015.

By city charter, council had 30 days to appoint a new president from within or fill the vacancy through a pu …

Click Here to Read the Full Article on the Reading Eagle

Reading City Councilwoman Johanny Cepeda-Freytiz has won the race for the Democratic nomination in the 129th Legislative District.

According to incomplete and unofficial vote totals a week after election day, Cepeda-Freytiz received 2,330 votes. Her opponent, Reading School Board member Mark Detterline, trailed with 1,915 votes.

Vote totals may not include all provisional, overseas and military ballots. The election is official when the results are …

Click Here to Read the Full Article on the Reading Eagle

Click Here to Read the Article on the Reading Eagle

Johanny Cepeda-Freytiz has built her political career on helping people.

As the owner of a restaurant, she has seen the challenges faced by local small business owners. As a resident of Reading, she has learned about the needs of her neighbors.  And as a member of City Council, she has had a hand in revitalizing a struggling metropolis.

Now, Cepeda-Freytiz wants to take her people-focused perspective to the next level.

The 48-year-old is scheduled to kick off her campaign for a seat in the state House of Representatives at an event tonight at the Wyomissing Family Restaurant & Bakery. She will be running for the Democratic nomination to represent the 129th District.

“As a council member, I understand the importance of getting input from my constituents before I make a decision because I know those decisions will impact the outcome of our communities,” she said. “That way the focus remains on the people, ensuring that their voices are heard. So, I would be doing the exact same thing but at the state level.”

The district has been represented by Spring Township Republican Jim Cox for the past 14 years.

But new legislative maps recently approved by the Pennsylvania Legislative Reapportionment Commission have altered the district to include part of Reading, where Cepeda-Freytiz lives. The change was made deliberately on advice from voting rights experts hired by House Democrats to see where Pennsylvania could enhance its minority representation in Harrisburg.

Cepeda-Freytiz said she is grateful for the change that was made.

“There are only a handful of Latina women serving across the commonwealth, so I think my campaign is an important opportunity for those voices to be heard,” she said. “There is a cultural divide that exists, and I want to be part of breaking down some of those barriers to ensure that all levels of government include more people of color across the board.”

Cepeda-Freytiz said the redrawn district also presents a unique opportunity to make the communities of southern Reading, West Reading, Wyomissing, Sinking Spring and parts of Spring Township more cohesive under a single representative. While these communities may seem diverse, she said the problems facing residents across the district are similar.

Wanting to find solutions to those problems, she said, was the motivation driving her campaign for higher office.

Cepeda-Freytiz said she wants to address the senseless acts of violence being committed with guns by advocating for laws that make it harder for young people to access firearms. The issue is personal for her, seeing a close friend struggle with the loss of her 17-year-old son to gun violence.

Two other priorities for Cepeda-Freytiz are the elderly and education.

She said more needs to be done to make sure older Pennsylvanians have financial security, in part by addressing the issue of property taxes.

“As they are trying to live in retirement, some of them are being forced to go back to work because they can’t afford their homes,” she said. “So, we want to look at limiting any potential property increase.”

When it comes to education, Cepeda-Freytiz said she sees a wide disparity between wealthy and poor school districts. That’s something that needs to be changed, she said.

“We need to figure out how to bridge that gap between school districts and use that to bond communities,” she said. “We need to ensure that resources and opportunities are as equal as possible to the best of our abilities.”

Cepeda-Freytiz said those are the issues that are heavy in her heart, and a change needs to take place to fix them.

“I think there is this humongous fight over political power in Harrisburg versus fighting for the needs of our people,” she said, adding that she’s willing to take on that fight. “I have a passion to serve. I’m so adamant about connecting and uniting people regardless of where they come from or what party they belong to.”

Cepeda-Freytiz promised to put people ahead of partisanship.

“I will be fighting for people versus fighting for power,” she said. “We have to be able to compromise. We can’t make everyone happy, but we need to make decisions to meet the needs of the majority.”

Cepeda-Freytiz will run against Reading School Board member Mark Detterline for the Democratic nomination to represent the 129th District in the May 17 primary.

State representatives serve a two-year term and receive an annual salary of $95,432.

Meet the candidate

Candidate: Johanny Cepeda-Freytiz, 48, Reading.

Position sought: State representative for the 129th District, which includes parts of Reading and Spring Township as well as Sinking Spring, West Reading and Wyomissing.

Current salary for position: $95,432.

Background: Cepeda-Freytiz has served on Reading City Council since 2019 and is the owner of Mi Casa Su Casa in downtown Reading. She has a bachelor’s degree in French from the State University of New York at New Paltz College and a master’s degree in education from Long Island University. She serves of the board of directors of for the Greater Reading Chamber Alliance and Centro Hispano.