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Guest List: Today’s Newsmakers

The Washingtonians in headlines today we’d like to have dinner with tonight

• Captain David Bitonti. The chief of staff at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda has led a complicated transition as the hospital merges with Walter Reed Army Medical Center this year. While the move might be bittersweet for Naval Center veterans, it could be good for Walter Reed—Navy Medical is one of the national leaders in treatment of traumatic brain injury, the signature wound of the ongoing conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

• Ed Lazere. The chief of the DC Fiscal Policy Institute has a new report out with a pleasant surprise. No matter how it might seem or feel, District residents actually pay the lowest taxes in the region, followed closely by Virginians without cars. Whether the report causes anyone to move into D.C or provides a boost to smart-growth advocates, at least it’s a little less taxation in exchange for no representation?

• Thomas Miller and Susan Lee. The Maryland Senate president and the House delegate are squaring off over a contentious issue: whether to replace the US Capitol statue of founding father John Hanson, president of the Continental Congress, with one of Harriet Tubman, the famous former slave turned conductor on the Underground Railroad. Each state gets to contribute two statues to the Capitol, so just adding Tubman isn’t an option. The debate has pitted women’s groups, led by Lee, who introduced a bill to make the change, and armchair historians, led by Miller.

• Meredith Koop. Not to get punny, but the 29-year-old has apparently couped Ikram Goldman, the woman responsible for Michelle Obama’s rise as a fashion icon, to take over the First Lady’s wardrobe choices. Does this mean that a year from now well-dressed Washington women will be chasing Alexander McQueen dresses instead of J. Crew cardigans? Any shifts in Obama’s style remain to be seen. But the women who dress her don’t just shape the White House’s image—they inspire a region.

• Philip Allin. Aren’t water wars supposed to be one of those things we have to deal with in case of an environmental collapse? One is apparently shaping up in Northern Virginia, where Falls Church—which supplies water through the city government—is worried that a minor tweak to a bill up for debate in the state legislature could give an unfair advantage to the utility Fairfax Water, of which Allin is chairman. Both Falls Church and Fairfax Water want to get in the business of providing service to the fast-developing area of Tysons Corner. It may not be a fight to the death, but it’s important to the future of Virginia businesses.

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