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.

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Rubber gloved hands hold a syringe
Mary Altaffer / Associated Press File

Updated 3:10 p.m.

Gov. Phil Scott and his top health advisors sought to allay concerns Tuesday about the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine after federal regulators asked states to “pause” use of the single-dose vaccine, pending a safety review by the Food and Drug Administration.

A police department building
Peter Crabtree / VPR File

Two former Bennington residents say the town select board illegally retaliated against them after the couple raised concerns about discriminatory policing practices.

A chart
State of Vermont, Courtesy

Gov. Phil Scott today announced a COVID-19 reopening plan that would lift all pandemic-related safety mandates by July 4.

A man stands in a grassy field with hills and blue sky behind him.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

Federal officials won’t say yet whether they’ll give Vermonters more time to weigh in on a controversial plan to install surveillance towers on the Vermont-Canada border.

A prison fence against a blue sky.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR File

The health care experts advising Gov. Phil Scott on his COVID-19 vaccine rollout say it’s time for the state to immunize everyone incarcerated in Vermont prisons, but Scott said Wednesday that he still has no plans to prioritize inmates for the vaccine.

A white sign with green and red lettering instructs people to vote today at the Winooski Senior Center on the school budget.
Henry Epp / VPR File

Town Meeting Day voters showed overwhelming support Tuesday for school districts, which have faced unprecedented challenges over the last year as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

A vial of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is shown  at the University of Vermont Medical Center, on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020.
University of Vermont Medical Center, Courtesy

New guidelines unveiled by Gov. Phil Scott on Tuesday open the door for teachers and other staff at public schools, as well as certain public safety officials and corrections staff to get the COVID-19 vaccine. At the same time, Vermonters with certain high-risk medical conditions will also become eligible for a shot starting next week.

Legislation introduced in both the House and Senate would increase the proportion of education resources going to districts with economically disadvantaged students.
Angela Evancie / VPR File

Voters across Vermont will weigh in on local school budgets Tuesday, but a debate playing out in Montpelier right now could have far more influence over how much money districts have to educate their students.

North Country Union High School principal Chris Young is among the educators across the state who's working to support and re-engage with students who have fallen off the map amid remote learning.
Anna Van Dine / VPR File

Education officials across Vermont say they’ll need help from the state in order to reconnect with chronically truant students that have “ghosted” school during the pandemic.

A graphic with a laptop screen with nine squares and a person with different colored hair and skin in each
askmenow / iStock

Efforts to address implicit bias and systemic racism in state government have done little to reduce racial disparities in turnover and pay in the state workforce.

A green office with a calendar flipped to October next to a door with a sign for town clerk
Anna Van Dine / VPR File

Town clerks across Vermont are worried that a legal dispute over access to municipal land records could force them to abandon public health protocols meant to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Legislation introduced in both the House and Senate would increase the proportion of education resources going to districts with economically disadvantaged students.
Angela Evancie / VPR File

Republican Gov. Phil Scott presented his fiscal year 2022 budget on Tuesday to a virtual joint session of the Vermont Legislature. It was a rosier address than predicted just a few months earlier, when state economists expected the COVID-19 pandemic to punch a $430 million hole in revenue collections.

Orange cones and a black chain lead to four law enforcement officers on the snowy steps of the Vermont Statehouse
Elodie Reed / VPR

Updated 6 p.m.

Sunday was a mostly quiet day in Montpelier, and the armed protests that law enforcement officials had been preparing for did not materialize.

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

State Treasurer Beth Pearce says Vermont will need to make “extraordinarily painful” cuts to retirement benefits for teachers and state employees in order to keep the state’s pension fund solvent.

A gate across a narrow dirt road
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

Imagine you’re a resident of a quiet, rural community in southern Vermont, and a guy from New York moves to town and starts operating a tactical shooting range without a permit.

Commissioner of Public Safety Michael Schirling says state police are monitoring online "chatter" related to armed protests in Montpelier next week.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

Law enforcement officials in Vermont say they’re preparing for the possibility of armed protests at the Statehouse next week.

Two men in masks walk past the granite columns of the statehouse
Elodie Reed / VPR

Today marks the first day of the new legislative session in Vermont, and outgoing Lt. Gov. David Zuckerman gaveled in the Senate for an in-person floor session this morning.

A multi-colored sign reads Lets Grow Kids against a brick building wall
Elodie Reed / VPR

A new poll commissioned by one of the state’s leading child care advocacy organizations shows broad public support for increased state funding for Vermont’s child care system.

Lara Dickson / For VPR

Living in recovery from opioid use disorder during COVID-19. Plus, electoral votes cast, the vaccine arrives, and the border remains closed.

A zoom screen with many faces
Elodie Reed / VPR

About a month from now, Vermont lawmakers will kick off the 2021 legislative session, and incoming legislators are facing what might be the most volatile fiscal landscape the state has ever seen.