Arambula, 38, is the grandson of immigrant farmworkers and has worked for nine years as an emergency room physician at Adventist Health Medical Center in Selma, about 15 miles southwest of Fresno. He went to college in Maine and graduated from University of Minnesota Medical School before moving back to Fresno for his residency.
In an interview before the election, Arambula said he planned to address pressing issues for Fresno voters that have been ignored in Sacramento.
He will also be expected to vote on the state budget and a host of hot-button issues once landing at the state Capitol.
The Arambula name is familiar to many Central Valley voters. His father, Juan Arambula, is a former assemblyman and Fresno County supervisor who built a reputation as a fierce independent. The elder Arambula often clashed with Democratic leaders in the Legislature. Following disagreements with labor unions, he switched his party registration to “decline to state” during his final term in office. He was stripped of his committee chairmanship as a result.
Joaquin Arambula, who was a registered Democrat from 2006-14, switched to “no party preference” in 2014 before switching back in 2015, when he declared his candidacy.
“It’s a new day, and he’s a different guy than his dad,” Rendon said. “I think he’s going to represent his district well. ... We represent 80 distinct districts, and there are probably some challenges that are distinct there. But as a Democrat, I think that’s kind of what we do. We’re a big-tent party.”
The state Democratic Party spent nearly $500,000 on Arambula’s behalf to help secure the seat. More than $2.2 million was spent in the special election, most of it by Arambula and his supporters.
Arambula and Olivier are both on the June primary ballot and are expected to run in November, when the next full Assembly term will be at stake.