CA Assemblyman Juan Arambula re-registers as an Independent

A California assemblyman has split from the Democratic Party as both houses of the Legislature head toward a contentious vote this week on a plan to bridge the state’s $24 billion budget gap.

Juan Arambula confirmed today that he has re-registered as an independent.

Formerly a moderate within the Democratic caucus, Arambula is scheduled to be termed out next year from his Central Valley district, which encompasses portions of Fresno and Tulare counties.

It is not immeditely clear how Arambula’s decision will affect the coming budget vote, which includes more than a dozen bills that will require a two-thirds majority in both houses to take effect immediately.

Arambula was contacted just as one of his Assembly committee meetings was scheduled to start. He said he did not have time to discuss his reasons prior to the meeting.

Two weeks ago, Assembly Speaker Karen Bass named Arambula to head the Assembly Public Safety Committee in a shuffle necessitated by the departure of former Assemblyman Curren Price to the Senate.

Arambula was removed by Bass from the Assembly Budget Committee and a budget subcommittee on state administration upon being named chairman of the public safety panel.

Arambula has a reputation for speaking his mind and not necessarily voting in lockstep with the Democratic caucus.

Three years ago, then-Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez ordered Arambula to move into the Assembly‘s “doghouse,” a shoe-box sized Capitol office often reserved for lawmakers in disfavor with their party’s leader.

Arambula was relegated to the tiny, fifth-floor office of 807 square feet after refusing to fall in line with Democratic leadership on a record $37.3 billion bond package passed Friday.

Arambula also was stripped at the time of his chairmanship of the Assembly Committee on Jobs, Economic Development and the Economy.

Weeks later, Núñez relented, reinstating Arambula as committee chairman and offering his old office accommodations back.

Arambula is a former member of the Fresno County Board of Supervisors and the Fresno Unified School Board.

The son of immigrant farm workers, Arambula possesses a master’s degree in educational administration and policy analysis from Stanford University and a law degree from the University of California, according to the biography posted on his Web site.

He lives in Fresno with his wife, Amy. The couple has four adult children.

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