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Heard on the Hill: Washington Exposure

Actress Janine Turner, best known for her role as gamine bush pilot Maggie O’Connell in the show “Northern Exposure,” says being a Hollywood conservative has hurt her career and might have contributed to a recent part on a hit show getting axed.

Turner played Katie McCoy on the hit show “Friday Night Lights,” but she says her character was written out of the show, and her conservative politics might have been the reason.

“I was a real odd duck, and the feeling was estranged,” she said of life on the set after campaigning for the Republican presidential ticket in 2008. “I’m not going to say why, but I wasn’t called back. ... This is making conservatives afraid to take a stand.”

Turner was in Washington on Monday to hype her nonprofit, Constituting America, which sponsors a contest for school-aged kids to express through the arts the importance of the Constitution.

She stopped by Americans for Tax Reform, where she looked every bit the stereotypical native Texan (and nothing like her flannel-wearing character on “Northern Exposure”): pale-blonde hair in a poufy flip, red nails and lips, and a leopard dress, spewing a giant, high-pitched laugh. Her most prominent accessory, though, was slightly less glamorous ­­— a tattered, dog-eared, bookmarked copy of the Federalist Papers, which she referred to countless times during a question-and-answer session with reporters.

Turner hasn’t met with lawmakers on Capitol Hill just yet, although she said she’d like to in future trips to Washington. She’s intrigued by Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) and feels a kinship with former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

“She sticks to her principles,” Turner said of the former GOP vice presidential candidate. “I’m doing that and I’m having to pay for it, and so is she.”

Good as Gold. It’s going to be just like the Oscars, only for Congressional computer geeks.

And there probably won’t be as many paparazzi.

The Congressional Management Foundation is slated to release its list of the top Congressional Web sites on Wednesday, handing out coveted Gold Mouse Awards to the best Member, leadership and committee offices in both chambers. But this year, rather than release the results in a plain ol’ press release, the CMF will unveil the winners during a reception and ceremony at the swanky Willard hotel.

Fan-cy!

More than 100 sites will be honored, HOH hears, and on four different levels: platinum, gold, silver and bronze. The CMF’s Tim Hysom tells HOH that the organization has always wanted to host a special event to honor the Members (and perhaps more importantly, staffers) who put together Congress’ best Web sites.

“As HOH knows, one of the best ways to inspire creativity and innovation on Capitol Hill is through a little good-natured competition among Members,” Hysom says. “We hope the event will become a regular part of our once-per-Congress evaluation.”

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