Melissa Gilbert is most known for having been the star of Little House on the Prairie, playing Laura Ingalls, one of the four (then ultimately seven) children of Charles and Caroline, the owners of the famed [diminutive domicile on the sward]. She was on the show from 1974 to 1982 (or from the 1870s to the 1880s), and has continued acting in occasionally recurring roles on television shows, such as 7th Heaven and Secrets and Lies, ever since. Now, at 51, it seems she’s hoping to make a drastic career shift — the Washington Post reports she’s running for Congress in Michigan’s 8th Congressional District.
She’s aiming for the Democratic nomination in Livingston County, where she currently resides with her husband — also an actor. On her campaign website, she explains:
I’m running for Congress to make life a little easier for all the families who feel they have fallen through the cracks in today’s economy. I believe building a new economy is a team effort, and we need to bring fresh voices to the table to get the job done.
And on Twitter, she announced:
Though this is the first time she’s run in an election, she’s been politically involved in the past. Her county democratic party chair Judy Daubenmier said to Livingston Daily, “We worked with her on the Schauer campaign (for governor) and, I can tell you, she’s a real trooper. She’ll be a very effective campaigner…I think it’s very, very exciting news.” The paper also notes that Gilbert was once president of the Screen Actors Guild — just like Ronald Reagan (though “just like Reagan” should never be something to play up regardless of context, especially for a Democratic candidate).
Meanwhile, Mike Bishop, the Congressman who currently holds the seat she’s hoping to fill in the district, has his spokesperson locally discussing Gilbert’s known tax woes, saying “Melissa Gilbert can afford to have a stylist for her dog, but cannot pay her taxes.” But if she could allegedly outdo 500 child actors in auditions for the part of Laura, perhaps decades later she’ll find it just as easy to one-up a group of politicians. (But then she didn’t win Dancing With the Stars… and since these are obviously the best ways to predict the outcomes of elections, it seems it could go either way.)