Valerie Plame, famed ex-CIA operative, running for House seat in New Mexico


Former undercover CIA agent Valerie Plame, who was famously outed by a State Department official in the President George W. Bush administration, is running for the open seat in New Mexico’s 3rd District, she announced Thursday.


Plame became the subject of national attention after the State Department official leaked Plame’s undercover identity to a Washington Post reporter in an effort to undercut the credibility of her husband, former diplomat Joseph Wilson. Wilson had openly questioned the Bush administration’s justification for going to war to stop Iraq from developing weapons of mass destruction.


The episode led to the conviction of Dick Cheney’s chief of staff, I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, for lying to investigators.


Plame is one of many Democrats who have announced an interest in the 3rd District seat being vacated by Democratic Rep. Ben Ray Lujan, who announced he would run for Senate after Democratic Sen. Tom Udall said he would retire after this term.


“My career in the CIA was cut short by partisan politics, but I’m not done serving our country. We need more people in Congress with the courage to stand up for what’s right,” Plame said in a statement.


Plame highlighted access to affordable health care and rising prescription drug costs as issues she hopes to address in Washington.


“Everyone is losing under the health care system we have today except for insurance and drug companies,” she said.


Whoever emerges from the Democratic primary in New Mexico’s 3rd District will likely be the favorite to win the general election. Hillary Clinton defeated Trump there by 15 points in 2016, and Lujan has cruised to reelection in the district five times.


— CQ-Roll Call

Florida woman arrested after hundreds of bugs crawl out of child’s backpack


ORLANDO, Fla. — A Florida woman was arrested after a second grader in her care repeatedly showed up to school in clothes caked in filth and a backpack filled with “hundreds” of bugs, deputies in the Panhandle said.


The girl is one of five siblings ages 5 to 14 who lived in a “filthy” Milton home infested with roaches, soiled mattresses on the floor, piles of cat feces, no edible food, broken windows, and bags of trash throughout the home and yard, according to a Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office report.


Jessica Nicole Stevenson, 33, was arrested last Friday and charged with five felony counts of child neglect without great bodily harm.


Deputies said Stevenson’s bedroom was “abnormally” clean compared with the condition of the rest of the home, with a flat-screen TV and bed linens. In contrast to the children’s closets, hers was filled with clean clothes, according to the report.


The children’s living conditions came to the attention of staff at Bagdad Elementary school, which three of the siblings attend, the probable cause affidavit said.


The second grader told authorities she didn’t know when her last bath or shower had been. School staffers said they had repeatedly given the girl clean clothing to wear but that the child kept showing up dressed in the same outfits several days in a row as they became dirtier and dirtier.


A Florida Department of Children and Families report about the three siblings who attended the elementary school led to the sheriff’s office launching an investigation April 18, the Pensacola News Journal reported.


The newspaper reported that Stevenson made bond the day after her arrest and was released Saturday, the day after her arrest.


— Orlando Sentinel