‘Nasty’ actress Alison Arngrim promotes book, lobbies on child abuse

Alison Arngrim, best known for playing “Nasty” Nellie Oleson on the hit television show “Little House on the Prairie,” is in the nation’s capital to promote her comedy show, “Confessions of a Prairie Bitch” and to lobby Congress for the prevention of child abuse.

Arngrim, a victim of abuse, advocates for an organization called Protect. Arngrim chatted with ITK on Monday.

Q: Do you know of any “Little House on the Prairie” fans in Congress?

A: I know that they are there. I know that I’ve run into them before. They are everywhere, though. 

Q: Are you officially the first self-described “prairie bitch” to head to Capitol Hill?

A: I think so.

Q: Have you signed any autographs for lawmakers while lobbying?

A: Oh yes, on the state level in Sacramento [Calif.], in Albany [N.Y.], in Pennsylvania. On the Hill, some congressmen. People are very bold about the autograph thing. No hesitation from congressmen or lawmakers when asking.

Q: Are there any lawmakers you’d love to play on TV or film?

A: I tend to play villains.

Q: As an 11-year-old child star, did you envision yourself coming to Capitol Hill to push for legislation?

A: You know, I think weirdly I did. Growing up in the ’70s was a political time. When I was little, I wanted to be an astronaut, a go-go dancer or president of the United States. I was a news junkie. I think it occurred to me that one way or other I would be visiting state houses. I didn’t think it would be something like Protect; I thought it would be something actressy.

Q: Tell me a little bit about what you’re pushing for while you’re here in D.C.

A: I’m going to meet with our Protect folks on the Hill. You know the biggest problem right now is money. It’s hard to remain funded. Protect has been very successful in keeping funding and keeping people from giving up.  In D.C., people like [Reps.] Debbie Wasserman Shultz [D-Fla.] and [Homeland Security Appropriations subcommittee Chairman John] Carter [R-Texas] have been very helpful.

Q: Would you ever consider running for office?

A: My first thought is no. I think I prefer being the outsider, lobbying. When you do run for office, you obviously have to pick a party. You are kind of beholden to the people who put you there, which are not always the voters.