Peter Hirschfeld


Peter Hirschfeld covers state government and the Vermont Legislature. He is based in VPR’s Capital Bureau located across the street from Vermont’s Statehouse.

Hirschfeld is a leading Vermont journalist who has covered the Statehouse since 2009, most recently as bureau chief for the Rutland Herald and Times Argus. He began his career in 2003, working as a local sports reporter and copy editor at the Times Argus.

Ways to Connect

A man holding a phone to his ear.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

David Zuckerman cleared the first big hurdle Tuesday in his bid to become Vermont’s next governor. But now he faces a much taller task in the general election: He has to convince voters to oust a Republican incumbent who’s won high marks for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

Gov. Phil Scott fields questions at a media briefing last week. On Tuesday, Scott said vulnerable children in Vermont could be at risk if public schools don't bring students back for in-person learning this fall.
Screenshot / ORCA Media

Gov. Phil Scott used his twice-weekly media briefing Tuesday to prevail on Vermont school districts to bring students back to the classroom for in-person learning this fall.

Gov. Phil Scott stands at a podium next to a screen
Screenshot / ORCA Media

None of the 146 Vermont inmates who tested positive for COVID-19 at a privately run prison in Mississippi are exhibiting symptoms of the disease, according to interim Corrections Commissioner Jim Baker.

A school building
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

As education officials across the state weigh the risks and benefits of in-person learning during the coronavirus pandemic, a new VPR-Vermont PBS poll has found that Vermonters are split over whether students should head back to the classroom this fall.

A screenshot of the four Democratic candidates for lieutenant governor during a recent debate on Vermont Public Radio.
Screenshot / VPR

Aside from presiding over the state senate, and casting the occasional tie-breaking vote, the lieutenant governor’s job doesn’t carry much in the way of constitutional powers. But the statewide post has been an important stepping stone for many ambitious politicians, and four Democratic candidates for lieutenant governor are vying for their party’s nomination in next week’s primary election.

Former Education Secretary Rebecca Holcombe, seen here outside her home in Norwich, is hoping to unseat the Republican governor she once served under.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

On a sunny day in April in 1978, 11-year-old Rebecca Holcombe was playing baseball in a field in Kabul, Afghanistan.


This story is part of an NPR nationwide analysis of states' revenue and budgets during the pandemic.

Pat Winburn, seen here in his law office in Bennington, says Vermonters would benefit from having a political newcomer in the governor's office.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

Pat Winburn knows you might not have heard of him.

Gov. Phil Scott at podium during press conference
Screenshot / Orca Media

Gov. Phil Scott Friday issued a statewide mandate that will require all people over 2 years old, with some exceptions, to wear facial coverings in public areas when physical distancing is not possible. The mandate will go into effect Aug. 1.

David Zuckerman and his wife, Rachel Nevitt, have been farming this 150-acre parcel in Hinesburg for a decade. Zuckerman now wants to become the first Progressive/Democratic governor in Vermont history.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

David Zuckerman first arrived in Vermont 30 years ago, to attend the University of Vermont. Since then, he’s become one of the more prolific campaigners in state politics.

Phil Scott at a podium
Screenshot / ORCA Media

As the economic toll of COVID-19 intensifies longstanding concerns about housing insecurity in Vermont, the state is poised to disburse $25 million to renters and homeowners that might otherwise face eviction or foreclosure.

Gov. Phil Scott, seen here at his media briefing Friday, said employees in the hospitality sector account for a quarter of the total unemployment numbers in Vermont.
Screenshot / Orca Media

Nearly 20 million residents from 14 states will soon be eligible to travel to Vermont without a quarantine requirement as Gov. Phil Scott looks to provide a boost to a hospitality industry that continues to reel from the effects of COVID-19.

Join VPR and Vermont PBS on for a virtual community conversation on race and policing in Vermont.
Kyle Blair / Vermont PBS

Since the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, calls for police reform and an end to systemic racism have echoed across the country, including Vermont. Join VPR and Vermont PBS for a community conversation on issues of race, injustice and policing in Vermont.

A Zoom window with multiple people on it.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

Anti-racism protests across Vermont in recent weeks have prompted lawmakers to fast-track police accountability legislation in Montpelier. But some criminal justice reform advocates say the bills don’t reflect the perspectives of communities most susceptible to police misconduct.

Xusana Davis stands at a podium next to a screen that says Juneteenth.
Screenshot / ORCA Media

Vermont’s director of racial equity used the commemoration of the end of the slavery in the United States to call on white Vermonters to play a more active role is dismantling systemic racism.

Alan Blackwell opened his dive bar, Arkham, in downtown Brattleboro in 2012. Blackwell said the future of small businesses like his hinge on an economic aid package being debated in the Vermont Legislature.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

The question of how much federal coronavirus aid should go to small businesses - and how quickly they should get it - has sparked a dustup between Republican Gov. Phil Scott and Democratic leaders in the Vermont Legislature.

Secretary of Education Dan French, at a podium in 2018, said Wednesday that schools will reopen this fall with "precautions and safety measures" to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR file

Mandatory face masks for teachers and daily temperature checks for students will become the new normal in Vermont schools this fall as state officials prepare to reopen public schools to the 75,000 students who were sent home in March due to COVID-19.

Gov. Phil Scott said during a press briefing Wednesday that, barring a resurgence of the new coronavirus in Vermont, students will begin reporting to school for the beginning of the 2020/2021 academic year.

A screenshot of a vertical video of three people in a parking lot between two cars.
Elodie Reed / VPR

Two separate incidents of racial harassment in recent months have revealed disparities in the way law enforcement agencies deal with “bias incidents,” according to the president of the Vermont chapter of the NAACP.

Montpelier City officials estimate that 5,000 people turned out for a protest Sunday against police violence and racism.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

Protests against police violence and racism drew large crowds in cities and towns across Vermont over the weekend, but racial justice leaders are calling on white Vermonters to examine their own roles in the inequality they’re condemning.

Gov. Phil Scott at a podium.
Screenshot / ORCA Media

In a bid to reinvigorate a tourism economy that’s been largely sidelined by the executive orders he issued in March, Gov. Phil Scott said he plans to ease travel restrictions on some out-of-state visitors, and allow restaurants to resume limited indoor dining.