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Guest List: Today’s Newsmakers

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

• Michael Rose. We may not agree with Rose, who’s the Virginia commander of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, on his interpretations of history—among them, that secession constituted a war of independence—but as the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War approaches this spring, the group could kick up a fuss both for Virginia governor Bob McDonnell as he pursues changes in everything from state liquor law to teacher pay and former Republican senator George Allen as he tries to get his seat back.

• Karen Barroso and Rolando Juárez. The owners of two Mexican restaurants—Rosslyn’s Guajillo and Adams Morgan’s Casa Oaxaca—have been tapped to open a new restaurant at Artisphere, the multi-use performance center in Rosslyn. The facility, opened last year with support from Rosslyn’s business-improvement district, is home to the Washington Shakespeare Company and hosts everything from dance performances to rock concerts to art exhibits. It’s an interesting next step in making Artisphere a destination as well as a boost for the low-key Latin-food-focused restaurant group, not exactly the kind of celebrity chefs often chosen to build flagship restaurants at flashier locations such as Arena Stage (which went with José Andrés) or the Newseum (which chose Wolfgang Puck).

• Maryland state senator Allan Kittleman. The Republican minority leader has announced that he’ll step down from his party position rather than back down from sponsoring a bill to create civil unions for both gay and straight Maryland couples—only to have more conservative Republicans in state-party leadership ask him to stay on. This local debate, coming a day after the Supreme Court refused to hear a challenge to DC’s gay-marriage law, may be a preview of larger national discussions: Former Republican Utah governor Jon Huntsman, currently President Obama’s ambassador to China and considered a potential Republican presidential candidate, backed civil unions during his term in office.

• Bryan Weaver and Patrick Mara. The progressive Democrat and the rare Republican office seeker have both thrown their hats in the ring for the April 26 election for an at-large seat on the DC Council. With education reformer Sekou Biddle filling the seat on a temporary basis and with former councilman Vincent Orange and former Adrian Fenty staffer Josh Lopez in the race, the city-wide special election may offer more clash of visions than last year’s mayoral contest.

• Todd Coffey. The Brewers relief pitcher just signed a deal with the Nationals. He may not be a clear replacement for closer Jon Rauch, who signed with the Toronto Blue Jays in the off-season, but he’s got some spark and personality—he’s known for sprinting to the mound when he gets called up—and the Nationals could use some enthusiasm.

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