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Guest List: Today’s Newsmakers

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

• Ron Kirby. No one loves Washington traffic, but for Kirby, transportation-planning director for the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, it’s not just an annoyance. He and a group of Virginia lawmakers have been pushing the Defense Department for money to help address the influx of new commuters caused by the base realignment and closure process. Their efforts got a boost yesterday when a congressional study sided with the Virginians. The National Academy of Sciences report says Defense should have contributed hundreds of millions of dollars to improving the region’s transportation system before directing tens of thousands of new commuters into it.

• Kristi Whitfield. No longer just a purveyor of baked goods, Curbside Cubcakes’ Whitfield is the brand-new executive director of the DC Mobile Food Vendors Association. The association is ramping up a lobbying and regulatory fight against Washington’s restaurant industry, which says that food trucks, with their lower operating costs, threaten lunchtime business. The food-truck owners are consulting with Matt Geller, CEO of the SoCal Mobile Food Vendors’ Association. Whitfield will be a key figure in the impending fight.

• Reverend Frank Haig. Former Secretary of State Al Haig’s younger brother is directing a $1-million gift from Haig’s estate to kick off new programs that take on the relationship among science, religion, and culture at Loyola University. With a fight over climate science brewing in Virginia—where the state legislature is trying to block attorney general Ken Cuccinelli from subpoenaing a former University of Virginia climate-change expert’s work—we’re curious to see what kinds of discussions and research come out of Loyola’s efforts.

• Michael Lomax. The president of the United Negro College Fund broke ground on new headquarters for the organization in DC’s Shaw neighborhood Monday, saying that the move from Fairfax County would help the group provide more direct aid to District residents and reach out more effectively to students from around the country who visit Washington’s many colleges and universities.

• The anonymous White House chef who’s home-brewing the Obamas’ beer. Sam Kass may get most of the attention, but we want to meet the chef who brewed the first batch of beer from ingredients in the White House kitchen garden. Turns out planting your own vegetables and raising your own bees isn’t just an attempt to get Americans to eat more healthfully and locally—it also means you get honey ale in time for the Super Bowl.

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