Bob Kinzel

Senior Reporter and Host, 'Vermont Edition'

Bob is a veteran Vermont journalist, specializing in political reporting. He is based in VPR’s Capital Bureau located across the street from Vermont’s Statehouse. Prior to joining VPR full time in 2002, Bob ran the Vermont News Service for 21 years. The service provided daily local news for eleven stations, including VPR. Bob started the News Service following a stint as news director for WNCS.

Ways to Connect

A banner advertises a state-run vaccination clinic across the top of the entrance to the industrial-looking Holiday Inn in Rutland.
Nina Keck / VPR File

Vermont is inching its way closer to its 80% vaccination goal, which means the Scott Administration could lift all COVID-19 restrictions this weekend. How are you feeling about returning to "normal"? VPR's Bob Kinzel and Mitch Wertlieb host today's hour to take your calls and thoughts.

a person in a suit stands in front of a railing and window
Eman Mohammed / VPR File

Recent foreign cyberattacks have affected U.S. energy supplies and disrupted food distribution networks. Could the nation’s financial system or the entire energy grid be taken down by future attacks? This hour, Congressman Peter Welch joins us to talk about this and other issues, and he answers your questions.

A man wearing a blue t-shirt and a light blu medical face mask draws a vaccine from a bottle into a syringe in a concrete building, at a state run vaccination clinic. He has a buzzed head and is wearing glasses.
Abagael Giles / VPR

 After a major effort to make COVID-19 vaccines readily available throughout the state, the Scott administration has almost reached its goal of having 80% of eligible Vermonters vaccinated. In our weekly health update, we find out what this means for Vermont and answer your questions.

A person in a suit jacket and button down shirt, smiling
Vermont Agency of Education, Courtesy

This school year has been challenging for many students, their families, teachers and administrators as they tried to cope with the impact of the pandemic. Now, as the school year is coming to an end, there’s hope that some rituals like in-person graduation ceremonies might be able to take place. This segment, we speak with Education Secretary Dan French about the strategies that many schools used this year to develop hybrid learning systems, and the outlook for full in-person classes next fall. 

A black sandwich board with neon paint and a Spectrum logo advertises COVID-19 vaccines in a brick courtyard.
Liam Elder-Connors / VPR File

The state of Vermont is on the verge of reaching its vaccination goals, which will allow it to lift all remaining COVID-19 restrictions in the very near future. What does this mean and how will these changes affect our behavior going forward? In our weekly health update, we put these questions to the Vermont Department of Health, and we also hear from you.

A mouse, laptop and ballpoint pen photographed in black and white.
Mike McCune / Creative Commons

The COVID-19 pandemic drove many to work part- or full-time from home. But will these workers ever return to the office? This hour, we explore the future of telecommuting and answer your questions.

A hand-painted sign in a window reads Keep up the great work Vermont, with a heart next to it.
Elodie Reed / VPR File

If 80% of eligible Vermonters get at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, Gov. Phil Scott says he'll lift all remaining pandemic restrictions. In our weekly health update, we talk with Deputy Health Commissioner Tracy Dolan about when this might happen and what it means for all Vermonters.

J. Scott Applewhite / AP

Last week, North Country Congresswoman Elise Stefanik was elected as the House Republican Conference Chair to replace Liz Cheney. This segment, we discuss what this means for Rep. Stefanik, North Country voters and the Republican Party. 

A blue and white envelope containing a vote by mail ballot.
Bill Oxford / iStock

At a time when some states are moving to restrict access to voting, the Vermont Legislature is moving in the opposite direction. Lawmakers have given their approval to a bill that encourages early and mail-in voting. This segment, we'll look at this issue with Vermont Secretary of State Jim Condos. 

A person seated in a metal folding chair gets vaccinated in a gymnasium with others watching on.
Nina Keck / VPR

According to a new national study, Vermont leads the country in four out of five categories dealing with statewide vaccination rates. In fact, Scott administration officials say if Vermont were its own country, it would have one of the highest participation rates in the world. At the same time, the number of people between the ages of 18 and 29 who have been vaccinated lags considerably behind the rest of the state.

Miniature Vermont and U.S. flags sit on a desk in a otherwise empty House Chamber of the Vermont statehouse.
Matthew Smith / VPR File

Lawmakers are coming down the homestretch of the 2021 session and there seem to be some significant budget issues dividing legislative leaders and Gov. Phil Scott. This hour, we talk with Vermont's legislative leaders about this and other issues. 

A red, clear plastic sharps container sits on a folding table as two hands draw vaccines into syringes to prep for a COVID-19 vaccine clinic.
Abagael Giles / VPR

New reporting from VPR's Abagael Giles examines the critical role community organizers have played in helping shrink the vaccination gap between BIPOC and white Vermonters. In our weekly health update, we talk with Giles. We also hear from two of the visionaries behind Burlington's BIPOC clinics and consider how their recent efforts might serve as a model for building health equity in Vermont.

A person filling out an unemployment form.
glegorly / iStock

Thousands of false unemployment claims have been filed with the Vermont Department of Labor during the pandemic. This hour, we talk with the Labor Commissioner about this fraud, and the reinstatement of the work requirement to receive unemployment benefits. 

A brick building with signs reading 'COVID Vaccine Hub' and 'COVID-19 Vaccination'.
Anna Van Dine / VPR File

State health officials are concerned that many young people are choosing not to get a COVID-19 vaccination because of what they've read on the internet. In our weekly health update, we take a look at the state's efforts to reach out to younger Vermonters, plus other COVID-19 news.

A man at a microphone.
Andrew Harnik / The Associated Press

President Joe Biden has outlined plans to spend $4 trillion on a massive infrastructure package and a proposal to provide paid family leave, expanded child care and free tuition at community colleges. This hour, we talk through these issues with Congressman Peter Welch and answer your questions.

A hand wearing a blue latex medical glove holds up a Moderna vaccine, with an orange cap, and needle shown with a drop of liquid at the end of the syringe.
Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press

With the Johnson & Johnson vaccine back in use, the state of Vermont is back on track with its vaccination goals to allow the state to lift most COVID-19 restrictions by July 4. In our weekly health update, we hear more about this, plus new outdoor mask guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

A woman smiling in a crowd of people.
Angela Evancie / VPR File

Vermont's pension funds for state employees and teachers face a multi-billion-dollar unfunded liability. How did this happen? And where do we go from here? This hour, we take a wide-ranging look at Vermont's pension funds and answer your questions.

A photo of a medical worker holding a vial of the Moderna coronavirus vaccine.
Ted Shaffrey / Associated Press File

As of Monday, people 16 and older and now eligible to be vaccinated in Vermont. In our weekly health update, we talk through the latest COVID-19 news with the Vermont Department of Health, and we hear about efforts underway to increase vaccine uptake within the Nulhegan Abenaki community.

Phil Scott at a podium.
Screenshot / ORCA Media

Gov. Phil Scott has outlined a plan to spend $1 billion in federal stimulus money on a variety of one-time Vermont projects. The governor says these are once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. This hour, we talk with Scott about his proposal and get the latest on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

A sign with a yellow plastic frame reads COVID-19 testing on a sidewalk outside of the Burlington City Arts building in late March.
Abagael Giles / VPR

In accordance with recommendations from the CDC and FDA, the Scott administration has ordered a pause on Johnson & Johnson clinics through the end of the week. This hour, we take an in-depth look at both the reasons for and impacts of this decision, and we answer your questions.

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