Peter Hirschfeld

Reporter

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

Rep. Janssen Willhoit on the floor of the Vermont Capitol. Willhoit is the Republican candidate for attorney general in the Nov. 6 election.
Rep. Brian Keefe / courtesy Willhoit campaign

Janssen Willhoit is a Republican representing St. Johnsbury in Vermont's Legislature. He's also an attorney, a graduate of Vermont Law School and the Republican candidate for attorney general.

From left, Sen. Richard Westman, Sen. Tim Ashe and Savi Van Sluytman, executive director of Lamoille County Mental Health Services, at a meeting in Morrisville Monday. Employees at the agency say they don't have enough funding to meet demand.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

The workers on the frontlines of Vermont’s mental health system say they’re struggling to meet increased demand for their services.

Commissioner of Buildings and General Services Chris Cole stands in a wing of the Statehouse that's been overtaken by mold. Cole says it'll cost an estimated $500,000 to clean up the committee rooms before lawmakers return in January.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

A mold infestation in the Vermont Statehouse has rendered 14 legislative committee rooms temporarily unfit for human occupancy.

Don Turner and David Zuckerman are the two major-party candidates for Vermont Lieutenant Governor.
photos by Angela Evancie and Ric Cengeri / VPR

We're kicking off the first of our general election debates, and partnering with Vermont PBS to air live on both radio and television. Joining us are the two major-party candidates for lieutenant governor: incumbent Progressive/Democrat David Zuckerman and his Republican challenger, House Minority Leader Don Turner Jr.

A state ethics commission says Gov. Phil SCott has a conflict of interest, due to his financial ties to a company that does business with the state. Scott says he rejects the commission's opinion.
Lisa Rathke / Associated Press File

The Vermont State Ethics Commission said this week that Gov. Phil Scott has a financial conflict of interest. The governor rejects the panel’s opinion, however, and says voters can decide next month whether he’s violated the state code of ethics.

The exterior of the Vermont Statehouse in Montpelier on a blue-sky day.
Angela Evancie / VPR file

With only about a month until Election Day, candidates for statewide office are garnering most of the media attention in Vermont. However political action committees appear to be focusing most of their energy on local races for House and Senate.

The Vermont Ethics Commission says Gov. Phil Scott has violated the state’s code of ethics by maintaining an ongoing financial relationship with a company that does business with the state.

A welcome to Island Pond sign outside by a road.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

Vermonters consistently rank jobs, the economy and cost of living as the biggest issues facing the state, which is why candidates running for political office right now spend so much time talking about them.

For people living in the most rural parts of Vermont, however, economic livelihood is even harder to come by

Former Vermont Secretary of Agriculture, Food and Markets Roger Albee chronicles the national and local history around the founding of two dairy co-ops back in 1919. The co-ops are now celebrating their 100th anniversary.
Ric Cengeri / VPR file

State officials say the proposed new rules for cross-border commerce between the United States and Canada could be good news for Vermont dairy farmers.

Headshot of Kiah Morris in the Vermont House chamber.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR File

Former Bennington Rep. Kiah Morris may be departing the Vermont Legislature, but she says her work on racial justice issues in Vermont will continue.

Rep. Kiah Morris at a podium in March speaking about racial justice legislation
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

Bennington Rep. Kiah Morris has resigned her seat in the Vermont House of Representatives, saying family health problems will require her to “focus on caring for and supporting my family.”

After Quebec confirmed its first-ever case of chronic wasting disease earlier this month, wildlife officials say they're working to make sure the disease doesn't spread to the deer herd in Vermont.
Toby Talbot / Associated Press File

Wildlife officials are keeping a close eye on a potentially lethal threat to Vermont’s deer herd.

Vermont Fish and Wildlife Commissioner Louis Porter said officials in Quebec have confirmed the province’s first-ever case of chronic wasting disease.

People stand in front of a "mock nuclear waste cask" and hold up a yellow sign that says Don't Nuke The Climate.
Amy Shollenberger, courtesy

If you’re on the road in Vermont this week and happen upon a giant nuclear waste cask being towed by a white pickup truck, don’t panic — the cask itself is a fake. The people behind the spectacle, however, say the threat posed by nuclear waste is very real, and they’re sounding the alarm over plans for radioactive waste being stored at Vermont Yankee.

A row of three empty chairs set up at a table with microphones for a panel.
onurdongel / iStock

Vermont branches of the NAACP will hold their first-ever candidate forums in Rutland and Brattleboro this weekend, but most of the major-party nominees invited to participate have chosen not to attend.

Vermont Attorney General TJ Donovan stands before a microphone.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR File

The Vermont Attorney General’s Office has taken over an investigation into allegations of racial harassment against a sitting state lawmaker in Bennington, amid criticism from racial justice advocates over local law enforcement’s handling of the case.

Bennington Rep. Kiah Morris, right, withdrew from her reelection campaign last month. Morris says racial harassment in her home district became too much for her family to bear.
Emily Alfin Johnson / VPR file

Many Vermonters were shocked last month when the state’s only African-American female lawmaker announced that, after years of racial harassment, she was withdrawing from her re-election campaign.

Tabitha Pohl-Moore, the Vermont director of the NAACP, was less surprised.

An illustration of a hand holding bills of money.
MHJ / iStock

In recent election cycles, super PACs have sought to influence electoral contests from the governor on down in Vermont — and 2018 is proving to be no exception.

An OxyContin bottle with pills arranged around it.
Toby Talbot / Associated Press File

Vermont has became the latest state to file suit against Purdue Pharma, the Connecticut-based drugmaker that manufactures the opioid painkiller OxyContin.

The Vermont GOP elected 5 candidates Wednesday for the general election ballot. They are, from left, Rick Kenyon for auditor; Rick Morton for treasurer; Janssen Willhoit for attorney general; Anya Tynio for U.S. House; Lawrence Zupan for U.S. Senate.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

Vermont sets aside the second Tuesday in August for its primary elections, but the Vermont GOP had to wait until Wednesday night to find out who would represent the party in some of the most important statewide offices during the general election.

Gov. Phil Scott signed the gun bill into law at contentious ceremony at the Statehouse in April. A gun rights group says several provisions in the new law violate the Vermont Constitution.
Emily Alfin Johnson / VPR file

Vermont’s new gun law is under fresh legal fire from gun rights advocates, who are challenging the constitutionality of universal background checks, raising the legal age to purchase a gun to 21 years old and a ban on bump stocks.

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