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Guest List: Today’s Newsmakers

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

• James Hartmann. Alexandria’s city manager is headed for warmer pastures after six years, a time that’s seen the Virginia city’s population boom, and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office move from Crystal City to Alexandria, even as the city and the region weathered the financial crisis. We’d love to know what Hartmann thinks about the future of the Washington metro area as he finishes up making it a better place to live and work.

• Marva Gumbs Jennings and Gary Johnson. The executive directors of the career centers at the George Washington University and the University of Mary Washington deserve credit: their schools sent more students into the Peace Corps last year than any other colleges of comparable size. Washington colleges have always emphasized public service as a core part of their mission. Here’s proof that they’re walking the talk.

• State Senator Jamie Raskin and Delegate Jolene Ivey. In the competition between Virginia, Maryland, and the District, Raskin and Ivey are helping nudge Maryland ahead—at least as a state for wine-lovers. The two Democrats are behind a bill that would let Marylanders mail-order their favorite vintages. It’s gaining momentum in the Maryland legislature, but the bill could divide the Restaurant Association of Maryland, which wants to protect both restaurants and in-state vintners, and some prominent restaurateurs, among them Top Chef runner-up and Volt chef/owner Bryan Voltaggio.

• Yolande Branche. As DC faces its most serious financial challenges since the mid 1990s, the prospect of resurrecting the District of Columbia Financial Control Board—the federal organization that ran the city’s budget from 1995 to 2001—is looming over Mayor Vincent Gray’s young administration. Branche was the first chief of staff for the board. We’d love her thoughts on how to get the city back on track—especially in the face of a difficult recession.

• John Wall’s as-yet-unnamed personal chef. After a Washington Post interview revealed that the young Wizard’s star stocks his pantry like any overworked bachelor fresh out of college, Ted Leonsis huffily responded that the team had hired Wall a personal chef before the season and keeps another chef on staff to serve breakfast to the entire team. So who is this mystery chef, the person who both satisfies Wall’s junk-food cravings and keeps him tearing up the hardwood? Washington’s food scene has plenty of hot restaurateurs—the scene’s ready for a whole new kind of celebrity chef.

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