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Melissa Gilbert Is Running for Office

Photograph by Getty Images

Melissa Gilbert, perhaps best known as Laura Ingalls on the hit '70s-'80s TV show "Little House on the Prairie," is running for Congress.

The 51-year-old actress and former president of the Screen Actors Guild has decided to throw her hat in the ring as the Democrat contender for the 8th District in Michigan.

Gilbert has already launched a Twitter handle, @GilbertforMI, announcing the news.

The actress, who's also a mother of two sons, has lived in Michigan since 2014, when she moved there with actor-husband Timothy Busfield.

"I think it's very exciting news," Judy Daubenmier, Livingston County party chairwoman, told the Livingston (Mich.) Daily. "We worked with her on the (Mark) Schauer campaign (for governor) and, I can tell you, she's a real trooper."

While Gilbert was born in Los Angeles and lived there during her acting and SAG career, she and Busfield have "maintained a visible presence" in their new home since moving there, according to the Daily.

In her bid for Congress, Gilbert said in her announcement that she wants "to make life a little easier for all the families who feel they have fallen through the cracks in today's economy."

That said, the actress will be running against U.S. Rep Mike Bishop, R-Rochester, who currently holds the seat and has not hesitated to bring up Gilbert's own financial issues.

The IRS filed a tax lien against the actress earlier this year for allegedly failing to pay more than $360,000 in federal income taxes.

Gilbert responded in a statement, saying, her tax problems arose from a "perfect storm of financial difficulty," which she says includes the recession, her 2011 divorce from actor Bruce Boxleitner and her inactive acting career.

Bishop, however, asserted that Gilbert is out of touch with her constituents.

"Melissa Gilbert can afford to have a stylist for her dog, but cannot pay her taxes," Stu Sandler, a spokesman for Bishop told the Livingston Daily. "Her values are out of whack with the district."

Gilbert certainly isn't the first well-paid celebrity to run for office. Perhaps the most famous is former President Ronald Reagan, as well as more recent entries including the late Sonny Bono, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Al Franken.

Gilbert's campaign website is GilbertForMichigan.com.

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