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 sits behind a table.
Bob Kinzel / VPR file

Elections security experts have discovered new ways to manipulate the type of voting machine used in Vermont, but local elections officials say it's unlikely that bad actors could exploit those vulnerabilities to change the results of an election.

Max Misch, alleged to have harassed former Vermont legislator Kiah Morris, is shown here at a press conference held by Attorney General T.J. Donovan in Bennington in January.
Linda Rathke / Associated Press/File

Last year, then-Rep. Kiah Morris of Bennington announced she would not seek re-election to her Statehouse seat, citing racial harassment by avowed white supremacist Max Misch. Since then, Misch was charged with unlawful possession of a large-capacity ammunition feeding device or magazine. That charge is now being challenged by Misch, bringing one of Vermont's new gun control laws to the state Supreme Court.

Gov. Phil Scott at a podium
Bob Kinzel / VPR

As Gov. Phil Scott launches his push for the federal approval that will be needed to import prescription drugs from Canada, administration officials released projections Thursday that suggest savings from an importation program could be limited.

A dog waits for a treat during a heat wave in Romania on Sunday, Aug. 11, 2019.
Vadim Ghirda / AP

It's easy to spot a well-trained dog. Maybe the pup is well-behaved in a large group of people or other dogs. Perhaps the pooch can sit, shake and roll over on command. But what's involved in training your pet that molds a calm, confident and well-behaved dog? We're talking about dog training and dog psychology with two Vermont dog trainers. 

deer stands in a field of grass
Toby Talbot / Associated Press File

A key legislative panel is set to weigh in on the biggest changes to Vermont's deer hunting rules in decades.

Xusana Davis stands in front of a building
Courtesy of Xusana Davis / via Gov. Scott's office

Last year, Gov. Phil Scott signed legislation that created a litany of new efforts to combat racism in Vermont. That law also created a cabinet-level post in the executive branch to address the issue of racism in state government.  Now, Xusana Davis is Vermont's first-ever director of racial equity. 

A row of Hartford Selectboard members seated a table
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

The town of Hartford has become a testing ground of sorts for a new state law that gives municipalities broad authority to insulate undocumented residents from federal immigration authorities.

The question of whether Vermont needs to replace it's only women's prison - the Chittenden Regional Correctional Facility built in 1973 - has been raised. "Vermont Edition" looks at if it is time for a new prison.
ozgurdonmaz / iStock

There are 156 women currently in Vermont's correctional system, all housed at the Chittenden Regional Correctional Facility in South Burlington. But many believe that it's in need of maintenance and lacks adequate safety features necessary in 2019. We're talking about the push for a new women's prison.

Demonstrators picketed outside Montpelier City Hall last week to protest proposed premium increases in insurance plans sold on Vermont Health Connect.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

One of Vermont’s top health regulators says proposed premium increases from the state’s two main health insurers could compel some residents to drop their coverage.

Chantrelles are the mushroom most wildcrafters have in their sights at the moment.
Elisacicinelli / iStock

They've been showing up at your farmers markets, on local menus and hiding in plain sight on your hikes through the woods. Mushrooms are popping up all around us, so Vermont Edition thought it would be a good time to check in with someone who hunts them for a living.

A bloom of cyanobacteria, commonly known as blue-green algae, inundates the shore of Lake Champlain in this undated photo.
Vermont Department of Health, courtesy

Hot summer weather is bringing Vermont's water quality concerns to a boil, with toxic blue-green algae blooms infecting lakes and rivers and closing beaches in the last week. We're talking about Vermont's water quality issues and the state's efforts to solve its clean water problems.

A man in a pink shirt stands by a pond.
Elodie Reed / VPR

For as long as he can remember, Matthew Evan Taylor has been intrigued by sound.

Three gray letter A's, but the third one is melting into a puddle
iStock / koya79

A Wall Street rating agency has downgraded Vermont's bond rating, saying that the state's aging population has put a damper on projections for economic growth.

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

A prosecutor's decision last month to drop three high-profile criminal cases in Chittenden County has prompted a legislative review of the state's justice system.

Brenda Siegel and Shawn O'Dell seated on an outdoor bench in Brattleboro, Vermont
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

State officials say a dramatic increase in treatment services for opioid use disorder has mostly eliminated waitlists for Vermonters trying to get into recovery, but some active opioid users in Brattleboro say they continue to face barriers to care.

Gov. Phil Scott, addressing reporters from a podium at a press conference
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

In his first public comments since vetoing legislation that would have instituted a 24-hour waiting period for handgun purchases, Gov. Phil Scott said Wednesday that he remains open to new restrictions on gun ownership in the future.

Looking up at the front of the Vermont Statehouse.
Angela Evancie / VPR File

Republican Gov. Phil Scott has vetoed legislation that would have made Vermont the 10th state in the country to institute a waiting period for gun sales.

A boat floats on a lake.
Elodie Reed / VPR

Now that elected officials have finally come up with most of the money needed to address water quality issues in Vermont, the state faces another clean-water conundrum: how to spend it.

Gov. Phil Scott, seen here in 2018 signing several controversial gun bills into law at a table outside the Vermont Statehouse, while others look on.
Emily Alfin Johnson / VPR file

Gov. Phil Scott has five days to decide whether Vermont will become the 10th state in the country to have a waiting period for gun purchases.

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

On Wednesday evening, the Vermont Senate reconvened in Montpelier to officially adjourn the 2019 legislative session.

Senate lawmakers had hoped their House counterparts would join them at the Statehouse Wednesday, to give one last shot at passing the paid leave and minimum wage proposals. House Speaker Mitzi Johnson declined that overture, however, and the two bills will be held over until 2020.