Melissa Gilbert, the former child star of TV’s ‘Little House on the Prairie,’ is running for a U.S. Congress seat in Michigan, she said Monday.
If she were to win a Democratic primary and go on to claim the 8th District seat, she would be the latest in a scattered group of former entertainers to become federal lawmakers.
Fred Grandy of ‘The Love Boat’ fame was a four-term congressman from Iowa. ‘Sonny and Cher’ star Sonny Bono served three years in the House during the 1990s and died during his second term in office. Ben Jones, ‘Cooter’ on ‘The Dukes of Hazzard,’ was a two-term congressman from 1989 to 1993.
And onetime Saturday Night Live funnyman Al Franken is now a U.S. senator from Minnesota.
Gilbert’s quest to join them, however, could be hampered by a much-publicized $360,000 tax debt she owes to the federal government she aims to join. Uncle Sam slapped her with a tax lien this year, which followed a similar 2013 lien from the state of California amounting to more than $112,000.
Gilbert, 51, has blamed her financial troubles on a stalled U.S. economy, a lack of Hollywood roles and a costly divorce.
She said this year that she has an installment plan set up to clear up her debts.
‘Like so many people across the nation, the recession hit me hard,’ Gilbert told The Detroit News in June when her tax troubles become public.
‘That, plus a divorce and a dearth of acting opportunities the last few years, created a perfect storm of financial difficulty for me.’
‘I’ve set up an installment plan to fully pay off my debt,’ she said then, ‘and will continue to work as hard as I can to erase this debt and dig myself out of this hole.’