Steve Mack/FilmMagic
Noelene Clark
August 10, 2015 AT 12:00 PM EDT

Melissa Gilbert, the actress who portrayed Laura Ingalls Wilder in the 1970s TV series Little House on the Prairie, has set her sights on the U.S. House of Representatives.

Gilbert, 51, announced her candidacy Monday for a Michigan congressional seat.

“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,” Gilbert said in a statement on her campaign website. “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.”

Gilbert, a Democrat, is running against incumbent Rep. Mike Bishop, a Republican. The actress, who has never held public office, was president of the Screen Actors Guild from 2001 to 2005. She also penned several books, including Prairie Tale: A Memoir and last year’s My Prairie Cookbook: Memories and Frontier Food from My Little House to Yours.

Gilbert reunited with her Little House costars last year for Entertainment Weekly‘s reunion issue. Read about her experiences as the most famous child actor of her time.

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