Melissa Gilbert is running for Congress. While Gilbert has not run for public office before, she spent four years as president of the Screen Actors Guild.
Gilbert will be running against Republican incumbent Mike Bishop for the Congressional seat in Michigan's 8th district. Gilbert announced her run on her campaign homepage, saying:
"Here in Michigan, I know people are doing their best to make a good life for themselves and their families. When it comes down to it, I think that’s what we all really want.
"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.
"Please join my campaign, and together we can build that new economy for Michigan."
<--- moves to Michigan to vote for Melissa Gilbert
— Mystery Teacher (@mysteryteacher) August 11, 2015
Her site features a link where supporters can make campaign contributions.
Republicans are already squaring off against Gilbert. The actress could attract considerable attention to the race, which has been considered safely Republican for a while. One thing Republicans are mentioning is that Melissa Gilbert had some difficulty paying a tax bill.
The Daily Press & Argus in Livingston County reported on Gilbert's IRS difficulties, saying she owes more than $360,000 and faces a tax lien.
Gilbert's opponent Mike Bishop moved quickly to respond to Gilbert's campaign announcement. Bishop campaign spokesman Stu Sandler said in a statement that Gilbert "can afford to have a stylist for her dog, but cannot pay her taxes. Her values are out of whack with the district.”
Gilbert responded that her tax trouble is no different than what has happened to man Americans, and has been taken care of.
“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 said in a statement.
TAX CHEAT- Melissa Gilbert a "tax cheat," OWES $360,000 in back taxes to the U.S. government and $112,000 to California.
— ROCKWITHBECK (@ROCKWITHBECK) August 11, 2015