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Comings & Goings

Meet Rep. Shalala’s new legislative assistant



Christofer Horta Rivero, gay news, Washington Blade
The ‘Comings & Goings’ column chronicles important life changes of Blade readers.

The Comings & Goings column is about sharing the professional successes of our community. We want to recognize those landing new jobs, new clients for their business, joining boards of organizations and other achievements. Please share your successes with us at: [email protected]

Rob Smith

Congratulations to Rob Smith, who was named Managing Broker at Chatel Real Estate, Inc. Smith has more than 25 years of experience in residential, commercial, land sales as well as the rental market. Chatel Real Estate is one of the oldest real estate firms in the Metro D.C. area with offices in Georgetown and Dupont Circle and they are looking to expand. Smith’s broad knowledge of the central and Northern Virginia and the Washington markets, consumer and design trends, and the many criteria involved in the sale or purchase of a property provide his clients and customers with unparalleled service. He said, “I have built my reputation in the market through a commitment of personalized service to my agents and clients. They all know I am available around the clock to respond to questions at a moment’s notice.” 

Smith was first licensed in Georgia in the early ’90s, and after many successful years in Atlanta real estate, moved to Virginia in 2010. He began working at a boutique real estate company in Orange, Va. as its managing broker and property manager. He then joined Berkshire Hathaway Home Services PenFed Realty in Manassas, Va. 

Smith currently lives in the Northern Virginia area, enjoys wine tastings at his family’s vineyard and brewery in the Fredericksburg, Va. area. He has a bachelor’s degree in business from the University of Kansas. 

Congratulations also to Christofer Horta Rivero who has been appointed a legislative assistant to newly elected Congresswoman Donna Shalala (D-Fla.). He previously worked for the House Democratic Caucus, chairman Joseph Crowley (NY-14) as a Policy Assistant. He managed the Democratic Caucus Jobs for America Task Force portfolio researching good practices for small businesses and large corporations in raising wages, employee stock option programs, profit sharing, retirement security, and hiring veterans. He represented Crowley in meetings with constituents, stakeholders, and advocacy groups on immigration, health care, tax policy, and foreign affairs in relation to issues affecting the chairman’s district and the caucus as a whole. He began working on the Hill for Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson (FL-24) as a legislative intern.                                                  

Rivero was a Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Fellow conducting research on the human rights situations in Latin America, Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, and Southeast Asia that focused on freedom of expression, rights of indigenous communities, violence against women and racial discrimination. He coordinated the annual LGBT Human Rights Defenders Breakfast Series with Central and South American activists and assisted in securing event speakers, logistical support, discussion transcripts, and post-event interviews with local press. 

 He earned a bachelor’s in history with a minor in political science from the Florida International University in Miami. He also has a certificate in European Studies and National Security Studies from the Green School of International and Public Affairs. He was the Hispanic Caucus Chair FIU College Democrats and a director at-large of the LGBT Congressional Staff Association.

Christofer Horta Rivero


Carlton R. Smith: LGBTQ advocate, ‘mayor’ of Mount Vernon, passes away

‘The Duchess’ died on May 29 in his sleep



Carlton R. Smith, an LGBTQ advocate, died May 29. He was 61. (Photo courtesy of Carlton R. Smith)

BY JOHN-JOHN WILLIAMS IV | Carlton R. Smith was affectionately called “The Duchess” in a nod to royalty, because of his unofficial role of mayor of Baltimore’s Mount Vernon neighborhood. He was a “walking billboard” for Calvin Klein, with a love for purple, Batman, cooking, house music, Prince, and Diana Ross.

“If you said Duchess, you knew who that was,” said his close friend of 25-years, Carrietta Hiers.

The rest of this article can be found on the Baltimore Banner’s website.

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Moore pardons more than 175,000-plus cannabis-related convictions

Governor signed executive order at State House on Monday



Maryland Gov. Wes Moore (Public domain photo/Twitter)

BY BRENDA WINTRODE and PAMELA WOOD | Gov. Wes Moore pardoned more than 175,000 cannabis-related convictions Monday, nullifying guilty verdicts decided when carrying small amounts of the drug or paraphernalia was illegal.

The Democratic governor signed an executive order during a State House ceremony, granting clemency to thousands of people convicted in Maryland. The convictions to be pardoned include more than 150,000 misdemeanors for simple possession and more than 18,000 for possession of drug paraphernalia with an intent to use.

The rest of this article can be read on the Baltimore Banner’s website.

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Blade wins multiple journalism awards

Society of Professional Journalists recognizes writing, design work



The D.C. chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists honored the work of the Washington Blade at its annual Dateline Awards dinner last week.

The Blade took top honors in the weekly newspaper editorial/opinion writing category for a piece by Michael Lavers, the Blade’s international news editor, titled, “Bearing witness to the unimaginable,” which recounted watching raw footage of Hamas’s attack against Israel on Oct. 7.

In it, Lavers wrote, “The Israeli government clearly wants the world to understand the barbarity of what happened on Oct. 7, and that is why it has shown footage of that horrific Saturday to journalists and lawmakers. The footage left me deeply shaken, and perhaps that was the point.”

Washington Blade graphic designer Meaghan Juba won the Dateline Award for front-page design in the weekly newspaper category.

And in the weekly newspaper-features category, the Blade’s Kathi Wolfe was recognized as a finalist for her piece titled, “Meet one of the most powerful disabled people on the planet.”

“These awards reflect our 55-year commitment to journalistic excellence,” said Blade Editor Kevin Naff. “Congratulations to our team for another year of award-winning journalism.”

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