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Alone on the debate stage, North Hempstead supervisor makes her case for re-election

Town of North Hempstead Supervisor Judi Bosworth speaks

Town of North Hempstead Supervisor Judi Bosworth speaks at a debate at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Shelter Rock on Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2015. Her opponent, Anthony Bulzomi of Westbury, could not attend. Photo Credit: Newsday / Scott Eidler

Judi Bosworth, in her opening debate speech Wednesday night, thanked her staff: "No one does this job alone."

The North Hempstead supervisor then took her seat on the stage, by herself, next to an empty chair and microphone reserved for an opponent who did not attend.

Bosworth, a first-term Democrat, was to face challenger Anthony Bulzomi, a Republican, of Westbury. Bulzomi had canceled his planned appearance at the last minute because his fundraiser, among several this month, was rescheduled from Tuesday to Wednesday evening.

Despite his absence, Bosworth read an opening statement, fielded questions from the audience, and was at times cut off by the moderator from the League of Women Voters of Port Washington-Manhasset, who was sticking to strict time rules. The lineup at the meet-the-candidates night also featured other Nassau County and North Hempstead town races.

Bosworth answered questions about transparency, the town's building department, and tree removal. She read a letter from a professional organization praising the town's building department. But midway through her reading, Bosworth was interrupted with a terse "Thank you!" from the moderator, Paula Blum.

Bosworth quipped: "This is actually important," and finished reading the letter.

The town's building department had been at the center of past elections for supervisor because it has been criticized for handling applications too slowly. Bosworth has vowed to continue revamping the department, and said "more needs to be done."

In an interview Thursday, Bosworth joked that the verdict was in on her performance at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Shelter Rock: "I won." She said she was told her performance rivaled Clint Eastwood's speech at the 2012 Republican Convention, when he spoke to an empty chair.

Bulzomi, nearby in Manhasset at a private residence, said he did not want to bail on the fundraisers.

"Look, certainly money is what makes this campaign go round," Bulzomi, a construction manager at the Gordian Group in Long Island City, Queens, said. He said he was told "these people are coming in, and are pretty spot on with their time; they're giving you money, they're dropping you some checks -- you need to be there."

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