The Fight for District 32

The race for the 32nd District City Council seat is on. After winning a three-way democratic primary last month, Mike Scala, an attorney from Howard Beach, will face republican incumbent Councilman Eric Ulrich in November. Scala won the primary with 43.7% of the vote, claiming the approval of more than 2,000 voters in the district. Scala is fueled by his victory and wants to build on this momentum. “I think people recognized that I have experience in the public and private sectors,” Scala said to a Queens Chronicle reporter. “And we talked about the issues that resonated with the voters. I think that’s what really hit people.” Scala has previously run for U.S. House to represent the 5th Congressional district of New York in 2012.

Scala is known in the community for being the “train guy”, referring to his efforts in transportation justice and his advocacy to bring back the defunct Rockaway Beach Rail Line. Besides transportation, Scala plans to focus on holding the city more accountable across the board, including issues on education and homelessness. Scala has plenty of prior experience working in government. While working in the New York State Senate, he learned the ins and outs of negotiating proposed legislation and gained first-hand knowledge of the state budget process. Scala had said that if elected, he would to join the following committees; Economic Development,  Education, Oversight and Investigations, Transportation, and Waterfronts.

Eric Ulrich, the two-term incumbent, is seeking his third and final term as the 32nd District City Councilman. As one of three Republicans on the City Council, Ulrich has promoted a strong quality of life agenda in his district that targeted graffiti and illegal dumping. Ulrich was first elected into office in 2009 at age 24 as one of the youngest members of New York’s City Council. He was one of the first council members to introduce participatory budgeting in his district and is active in the 102nd police precinct community council. Ulrich is currently part of the following committees; Environmental Protection, Housing and Buildings, Recovery and Resiliency, Small Business, and is the Chair of the Committee on Veterans.

Between now and November, the race is expected to heat up. Now that Scala’s clinched the primary, he is determined to hold Ulrich accountable for flip-flopping on his stance regarding term limits for City Council Members. In 2010, a year after Ulrich was first elected, a referendum was passed that restricted council members from serving more than two consecutive terms. However, the new law included a loophole allowing council members who were elected prior to 2010 to run for a third term. Initially, Ulrich supported term limits for council members, even though he’d be eligible to run for a third term. Ulrich has since reversed his position and will vie for his third term come November.

Both candidates will have to cover a lot of ground before November and plan on pounding the pavement and talking to voters directly. In a cross-party twist, Ulrich has secured the endorsement of former Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder, a democrat. The popular Assemblyman praised Ulrich’s ability to get things done and put aside political labels to ensure the best outcome for his constituents. The two candidates will face off in the general election on Tuesday, November 7th.