OC Sentinel: Seth Grossman, of Atlantic City, is a Republican candidate for Congress, and hopes to capture his party’s nomination in the upcoming June 5 primary.
Grossman grew up in Atlantic City and graduated from Atlantic City High School.
His political wakening came when his mother took him to the Ritz Apartments to hear John F. Kennedy make a campaign speech in 1960, what he described as a “life-changing event in politics.”
“I was a John F. Kennedy Democrat,” Grossman said.
“If John F. Kennedy were alive today, he’d probably be denounced as a right-wing Republican by most Democrats.”
Grossman said a “game-changing event” that switched him to become a Republican was President Lyndon Johnson’s 1968 urban renewal efforts in Atlantic City.
Pauline Hill, director of the Atlantic City Housing Authority, cleared 80 acres of the city for an Uptown Urban Renewal project, bulldozing homes and businesses. It was hoped the project would combat what officials deemed as blight. The cleared area, dubbed “Pauline’s Prairie,” extends along Atlantic Avenue from Virginia to Connecticut avenues.
“Eighty percent of that land is as vacant now as it was in 1968,” Grossman said. “What was particularly tragic about it is you had a lot of World War II Jewish refugees who thought they escaped that, they thought if you owned a home in America no one could take it away from you. Here the government was taking it away from them.”
Grossman said the city’s use of eminent domain and the neighborhood’s destruction turned him from a John F. Kennedy Democrat to a Tea Party conservative and now a Trump Republican.