Matthew F. Smith

Producer, Vermont Edition

Originally from Delaware, Matt moved to Alaska in 2010 for his first job in radio. He spent five years working as a radio and television reporter, as well as a radio producer, talk show host, and news director. His reporting received awards from the Alaska Press Club and the Alaska Broadcasters Association. Relocating to southwest Florida, he spent several months producing television news before joining WGCU as a producer for their daily radio show, Gulf Coast Live. He joined VPR in October 2017.

Matthew studied English and journalism at Villanova University in Villanova, Pa., where he wrote for the school newspaper and other school publications. He taught English as a Second Language for several years in China and the U.S. before pursuing a career in journalism.

Essex Orleans Democratic Sen. John Rodgers is running a write-in campaign to be the Democratic nominee for governor.
Bob Kinzel / VPR

Vermont’s gun control laws were a polarizing issue for many in the state when Gov. Phil Scott signed them into law in April. Essex-Orleans Sen. John Rodgers is making his opposition to some of the state's new gun laws central to his write-in bid to challenge Scott as the Democratic nominee for governor.

The Vermont Statehouse.
DenisTangneyJr. / iStock

With a state government shutdown narrowly avoided, Vermont Edition wraps up this week by talking with political reporters about the details of the budget agreement, what it means for future education and funding policies in our state, and how the Montpelier showdown could affect the 2018 campaign.

Republican Rep. Kurt Wright of Burlington talks about the role House Republican leaders played in the state's budgetary impasse and what the agreement means for the future of education funding.
Angela Evancie / VPR/file

Vermont's weekslong budget impasses is at an end after Gov. Phil Scott said he'd allow the latest budget passed by lawmakers to go into effect without his signature, avoiding a state government shutdown. But while the impasse has been framed as Democratic lawmakers clashing with a Republican governor, leaders of the House Republican minority also played decisive roles in the process.

The Icecube Neutrino Observatory at the South Pole sits atop an array of detectors buried deep within the clear antarctic ice.
Courtesy of National Science Foundation

It's a cutting-edge telescope buried a mile under the ice at the South Pole, but in many ways, the Icecube Neutrino Observatory is hardly a telescope at all. It doesn't point up at the sky; in fact, it points down, looking through the earth. It's just one of the paradoxical parts of a new field of astronomy looking at the universe by tracking the elusive “ghost particle” known as the neutrino. 

The World Health Organization now recognizes what it calls "gaming disorder," but treatment and what qualifies under the disorder is still being defined.
vitapix / iStock

Kids can easily lose themselves in the virtual worlds of video games, but what happens when gaming goes beyond a hobby and becomes a problem? The World Health Organization now recognizes “gaming disorder,” and we're looking at the details of the diagnosis and what it means for kids in Vermont.

Lavender farms, wine routes and natural beauty abound in Quebec's Eastern Townships. What are your favorite destinations in the region?
Flickr / Wikimedia Commons

Summer is a great time to explore new destinations, even ones right in your own backyard. We're touring Québec's Eastern Townships and looking at all that's on offer right on Vermont's doorstep. 

Samel Williams and grandson Walter G. McClain, who donated this photo to the Lowcountry Digital History Initiative.
The McClain Family

Samuel Williams was just a boy when he was liberated from slavery in South Carolina. He eventually made his way to Springfield, Vermont, where he raised a family and wrote a pseudonymous memoir, giving voice to his early life in slavery and the struggles of starting over. 

Fred Tuttle, left, and Jack McMullen squared off in a now-notorious debate during the 1998 Republican primary.
VPR file/Tim Johnson, VPR

Twenty years ago a political debate on VPR pitted a retired dairy farmer against a Harvard-educated Vermont newcomer in the Republican primary for the U.S. Senate. We're looking at back on the Tuttle-McMullen debate, how it affected the 1998 election and what the debate says about Vermont politics and values.

David Rosane and The Zookeepers on their tour of Vermont libraries.
David Rosane, courtesy

Although libraries are often associated with tight-lipped librarians demanding quiet, a Vermont band with ties to France intends to pump up the volume with a summer library tour supporting local branches.

At his campaign launch in Barre in May, Democrat James Ehlers touted his policy agenda as the most progressive of the candidates seeking the governor's seat in 2018.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

James Ehlers is one of four Democrats running for governor. We're talking with the candidate about his platform and his priorities as we head toward the state's Aug. 14 primary. 

Hannah Weiss installing automated temperature sensors on a snow pile at Craftsbury Outdoor Center.
Paul Bierman / The University of Vermont

In the heat of summer, snow is the last thing you’d expect to find in the Vermont woods. But at the Craftsbury Outdoor Center this summer, that’s exactly what you’ll find — after a bit of digging — that is.

Vermont has no shortage of talented athletes engaging in compelling competitions this summer. But do you know where to see these athletes run, row and ride? We’re looking at Vermont's summer sports and the games, matches and other opportunities to see athletes perform this season. 

Looking up at the golden dome of the Vermont Statehouse on a cloudy day.
Angela Evancie / VPR File

In the midst of a political stalemate in Montpelier over the budget for the next year, what could end the disagreement between legislative leaders and Gov. Phil Scott? And how are Vermonters outside of the capitol understanding the dispute?

Retired Middlebury College political science professor Eric Davis joins Vermont Edition to discuss compromise, politics and the public perception of the political gridlock gripping the statehouse.

Sen. Tim Ashe speaking during a 2016 special session.
Jeb Wallace-Brodeur / VPR

Legislative leaders and Gov. Phil Scott can't seem to agree on property tax rates or a state budget for next year. But they do agree that a state government shutdown on July 1 would be a disaster for Vermont.

Vermont Edition talks with Senate President Pro Tem Tim Ashe about efforts to settle this disagreement and avoid a shutdown. 

A bike rider on Stowe's 5.3-mile recreation path along the West Branch of Little River.
kevinmwalsh / iStock

Summer is prime biking time in Vermont, from riding the roads and rail trails to tackling tougher terrain like dirt paths and mountain biking. We're looking at the best Vermont has to offer for those on two wheels, plus biking basics and riding safely no matter where the trail takes you.

Campaigns for statewide and legislative candidates are now officialy underway after the May 31 filing deadline.
Jason Doiy / iStock

The deadline to file for elected office in Vermont was Thursday, May 31, and now campaigns for statewide and legislative candidates are officially underway. Here are the candidates just one day after the state's filing deadline:

Vermont's domestic violence intervention programs see about 300 men each year in programs designed to stop intimate partner violence. The programs seek to change attitudes and behavior to end a cycle of abuse.
Benjavisa / iStock

More than one thousand people were charged with domestic violence in Vermont last year. In just the last month, the state has seen several shocking murders involving what investigators have described as long histories of domestic violence.

The plight of the victims rightfully gets most of the attention. But for every victim of abuse, there is an abuser. We're looking at what help is available to stop abusers from continuing the pattern of violence. 

State's attorneys in Windsor and Chittenden County are working with Vermont Law School's Center For Justice Reform on efforts to expunge misdemeanor marijuana offenses from the criminal records of Vermonters.
MmeEmil / iStock

On July 1 Vermont's marijuana laws will allow adults 21 and older to possess and cultivate small quantities of the drug for personal use. But possession under two ounces has been a misdemeanor offense in Vermont, which means thousands of Vermonters will have criminal records for offenses that will soon be considered legal in the state. Now Vermont Law School is working with states attorneys in two counties to facilitate expunging those offenses from Vermonters' criminal records.

Vermont lawmakers are creating a way to import cheaper prescription drugs from Canada. But how will the system ultimately work?
eyegelb / iStock

Vermont is embarking on an ambitious experiment to bring down the high cost of prescription drugs by importing cheaper medications from Canada. State lawmakers and the governor passed the proposal into law in mid-May, but the details - and federal approval - still need to be worked out. How will the plan actually work?

Gov. Phil Scott called a special session, which started this week, after vowing to veto the state budget passed by lawmakers.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

The acrimony in Montpelier has been clear for weeks as Gov. Phil Scott stuck to his promise not to sign the budget passed by lawmakers. Now elected officials are back in Montpelier for a special session to resolve the budget impasse, but with familiar arguments on both sides of the divide, are they any closer to an agreement?

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