Bob Kinzel

Host, Reporter

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.

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Bernie Sanders speaking at a podium, pointing toward the crowd with an American flag behind him
Andrew Harnik / Associatd Press

On Wednesday, Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders gave a speech defending the political philosophy he calls "democratic socialism." The speech comes as Republicans, including President Donald Trump, and some moderate Democrats attempt to use "socialism" as an attack on more liberal Democrats like Sanders.

The Secretary of State's office is taking steps to protect Vermont's voting system against cyberattacks for the 2020 election.
Element15 Digital / Unsplash

Live call-in discussion: Getting people into the voting booth can be a struggle. So it's vitally important to make sure their vote is safely protected once they do exercise that right. Secretary of State Jim Condos joins Vermont Edition to explain how prepared the state is and what steps are being taken for the 2020 election.

Sen. Bernie Sanders with arms outstretched at a podium and American flags behind him.
Andrew Harnik / Associated Press

How American voters view the concept of "socialism" could have an enormous impact on the 2020 presidential race, and Democratic candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders made his case for "democratic socialism" in a major campaign address Wednesday at George Washington University.

State Treasurer Beth Pearce
Angela Evancie / VPR file

In her eight years in office, State Treasurer Beth Pearce has pushed Vermont to tackle its critical financial issues head-on, like confronting the real costs of clean water programs and the state's multi-billion dollar retirement and pension obligations. We're talking with Treasurer Pearce about the state's fiscal outlook and why her office has gotten involved in some major environmental issues.

The Vermont Statehouse with lawmakers seated
Oliver Parini / For VPR, File

The failure of Democratic leaders at the Statehouse to pass legislation raising the state minimum wage and paid family leave is causing a serious split between Progressives and Democrats. This rift could mean that more Progressives and Democrats will run against each other in House races in 2020.

Sen. Bernie Sanders speaking at a campaign rally in Montpelier. People hold Bernie signs behind where he stands at a podium.
Liam Elder-Connors / VPR

Former Vice President Joe Biden's entry in the Democratic presidential race has upended that contest, and it appears that the candidate most affected by Biden's decision could be Sen. Bernie Sanders.

House Speaker Mitzi Johnson and Senate President Tim Ashe join "Vermont Edition" to discuss what was and wasn't accomplished in the recent legislative session.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR FILE

With large Democratic majorities in the House and Senate, it seemed in January that the Vermont Legislature would easily pass longstanding progressive priorities like raising the minimum wage and establishing a paid family leave plan. But the House and Senate just quietly adjourned the 2019 session without legislation on either issue. What kept lawmakers from finding agreement on these key issues?

As the first year of the biennium comes to a close, "Vermont Edition" looks at what was accomplished at the Statehouse.
Ric Cengeri / VPR FILE

As Vermont's legislative session comes to a close, the House and Senate have negotiated and modified bills in the hopes of getting them to the governor's desk. We’ll hear from some of the state's top political reporters on the last-minute maneuvering that took place in Montpelier.

Congressman Peter Welch makes phone calls in his office in Washington, D.C.
Eman Mohammed for VPR

Costs for generic medications have skyrocketed in recent years, with some increasing by as much as 8,000%. The explosion in drug costs is the leading factor behind the nearly 16% rate hike Blue Cross Blue Shield Vermont requested this month for participants in Vermont Health Connect.

Now Congressman Peter Welch is co-sponsoring several bills to reign in prescription drug costs at the federal level.

The House floor during opening day of the Vermont Legislature on Jan. 9, 2019. We're talking with Republican leaders in the statehouse to get their thoughts as the legislative session nears its end.
Oliver Parini / VPR

Lawmakers are wrapping up the legislative session and we're talking with Republican leaders in the House and Senate about what they want to accomplish in their final days in Montpelier. 

The empty Vermont Senate chamber
Oliver Parini / For VPR, File

By a vote of 19 to 10, the Vermont Senate has given preliminary approval to a scaled back Paid Family Leave bill, but the future of the bill this session remains very much in doubt.

An aerial shot of the House floor on the opening day of the Vermont Legislature in 2019.
Oliver Parini / For VPR

The 2019 legislative session is entering its final days, but the outcome of many key bills remain up in the air. We’re hosting a reporters roundtable looking at these issues, including raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, paid family leave, water quality funding and a tax-and-regulate marijuana plan.

A splitscreen of the Statehouse at left in winter and at right in spring
Taylor Dobbs (left), Emily Alfin Johnson (right) / VPR File

We're getting down to the final weeks of the 2019 Vermont legislative session, which got us wondering: How long do sessions usually last? What controls the length of a session? Are sessions longer today than they were in 1860s, or the even the 1960s?

Sen. Bernie Sanders at a podium before a crowd outside in Fort Worth, Texas
Michael Ainsworth / Associated Press

A key element of  Sen. Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign strategy is to engage young voters in unprecedented numbers, but that means Sanders is relying on a group of voters who historically do not turn out in large numbers for presidential elections.

Three bills have been moving through the Vermont Legislature that aim to reduce youth smoking rates in Vermont.
Stephen Hocking / Unsplash

The Vermont Legislature has taken aim at reducing youth smoking rates with a trio of bills. Rep. George Till of Jericho joined Vermont Edition to update us on the content, goals and current status of the legislation.

An angled view looking up at the Vermont Statehouse.
Ric Cengeri / VPR

Earlier this week on Vermont Edition, we heard what's happening in the Vermont House as this legislative session nears an end. Now, Senate President Pro Tem Tim Ashe joins us to provide an update on what movement we'll see in the Senate in the session's waning days.

U.S. Attorney General William Barr at a Department of Justice podium
Patrick Semansky / Associated Press

U.S. Attorney General William Barr testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday regarding special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian election interference. Sen. Patrick Leahy is a member of the committee that questioned Barr.

Sen. Bernie Sanders is back on the stump as he makes a second run at the Democratic nomination for president.
Paul Sancya / Associated Press/File

Sen. Bernie Sanders is off and running for the presidency, making stops in the country's heartland, the Rust Belt and the West Coast. A group of political scientists look at how campaign 2020 will differ from 2016.

Marijuana plants
Labuda / iStock

The fate of the tax-and-regulate marijuana legalization bill is uncertain at the Vermont Statehouse. While Gov. Phil Scott is insisting that the bill include a roadside saliva test to determine driver impairment, key lawmakers say no reliable test exists. 

Special counsel Robert Mueller's redacted report on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election was released Thursday, April 18, 2019.
Jon Elswick / Associated Press

A redacted version of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report on the Trump-Russia investigation was released Thursday, April 18. We're talking with Vermont journalist and author Garrett Graff, who's reported on Mueller for more than a decade and followed the Special Counsel from the beginning, on what we've learned from reading Mueller's own words and seeing the redacted report.

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