Thursday September 15, 2011 | 01:36 PM

Maine native Ashley Hebert of "Bachelorette" reality show fame has tweeted her feelings about the nutritional value of patotatoes and whether the Maine agricultural staple should be included in federally subsidized nutrition programs.

And while Hebert doesn't mention Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, or other Maine members of Congress, her stand in favor of limiting the inclusion of potatoes in school lunches puts her at odds with the Maine lawmakers.

"School children need healthy lunches-not fries every day. Protect USDA’s school nutrition standards.
 Hebert tweeted, putting in a link to the Center for Science in the Public Interest's letter to senators on the issue. The Hill's healthwatch blog first reported on Hebert's anti-potato Twitter sentiments.

Federal guidelines excluding or limiting potatoes have been an ongoing battle on Capitol Hill for months now, and Maine lawmakers say the starchy vegetable is nutritious if properly prepared, i.e., not fried. But some nutrition and health experts say the potato is tied to weight gain no matter how it is cooked.

Collins doesn't seem likely to give up the fight in the face of Bachelorette opposition. She has vowed to try to overturn the federal guidelines when the 2012 agriculture spending bill reaches the Senate floor. Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, and both Maine U.S. House members, Reps. Chellie Pingree, D-1st, and Mike Michaud, D-2nd, have taken similar positions.

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Kevin Miller is Washington bureau chief for the Portland Press Herald and MaineToday Media. He has worked as a journalist in Maine for 6 ½ years, covering the environment, politics and the State House. Before arriving in Maine, he wrote about politics, government and education for newspapers in Virginia and Maryland.
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