Melissa Gilbert, aka Laura Ingalls, is running for Congress in Michigan, reports ABC News. The 51-year-old former star of Little House on the Prairie announced her bid as a Democrat on a new website, and her focus will be on issues related to women, children, and families. Despite her celebrity status—boosted by that of her actor husband, Timothy Busfield—Gilbert will have to defeat a GOP incumbent in a district described by the Detroit Free Press as a "Republican stronghold."
She'll also have to answer questions about a lien filed against her by the IRS because she owes $360,000 in back taxes, notes the newspaper. “The truth is I got caught in a perfect storm of financial difficulty, which is why I initiated a conversation with the IRS, told them I was having trouble and together we set up a payment plan," Gilbert says in a statement. Republicans see it differently: She "can afford to have a stylist for her dog, but cannot pay her taxes," says a spokesperson for opponent Mike Bishop. "Her values are out of whack with the district.”