The seat will be vacant after Councilman Eric Ulrich is term-limited from office in a district that stretches from Richmond Hill to the Rockaways.
Scala has served in leadership roles on transit issues in Rockaway, where he grew up, while he also spent time in Albany drafting and negotiating laws in the State Senate.
He was the Democratic nominee for City Council in 2017, where he won three out of four assembly districts in the general election.
“I'm in a good position to serve because I have time and actual experience with dozens of people throughout the entire district,” Scala said.
He is running on a platform of rebuilding South Queens with a strong focus on education, healthcare and infrastructure projects to create new jobs and growth in the district.
“It’s about building the future,” Scala said. “It's a way to get people moving, to work, so they can open businesses and move into the 21st century.”
In terms of policing, Scala said that he wants to look into reform that would find a balance between the communities and the officers who serve them.
“We need to make sure we’re policing more equitably and fairly,” Scala said. “But we need to look at things from a policy perspective, not simply from a slogan perspective.”
He is running as Democrat, but Scala noted that this race is less about partisanship and more about who is able to “get things done.”
“It doesn't matter whether you're Republican or Democrat,” Scala said. “You still want garbage picked up, you still want a fast train to work. These are things we all want.”
Meanwhile, the field for the seat is crowded, with other competitors ranging from a community board chairperson and a Working Families Party-endorsed teacher.
“I think a lot of candidates actually could be a good thing in terms of moving the dialogue forward,” Scala said. “I do look forward to a very robust competition, but I like my chances.”
And while the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect the residents of South Queens, Scala said he is “cautiously optimistic” about recovery from the virus.
“In a year from now, we'll be in a much better place,” he said. “But we have to make sure that we're still taking the necessary precautions, because people might want to let their guard down. We're not out of the woods yet.”
He noted the City Council seat serves one of the most diverse districts in the entire city, and wants to bring a message of “bringing people together.”
“We’re making sure that we come out of the pandemic as a unified district,” Scala said. “There’s more that unites us than divides us, and our district will be a celebration of that.”