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

A majority of Vermonters say they support raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour. Democrats hope Gov. Phil Scott's opposition to the wage increase will hurt support for Republicans in the November elections.
Angela Evancie / VPR file

After coming tantalizingly close to a budget deal Friday, elected officials return to Montpelier today to resume their efforts to get a spending plan in place before the fiscal year expires at the end of the week.

Tax Commissioner Kaj Samsom, center, said in an email to employees Monday that their "anxiety" and "stress" over the prospect of a government shutdown is unncessary.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR file

In an email sent Monday evening to rank-and-file employees at the Vermont Department of Taxes, Commissioner Kaj Samsom said their anxiety over a government shutdown is unnecessary, and that political forces — along with the media — are responsible for the unfounded alarm.

House Republicans held a press conference Tuesday after they voted to sustain Gov. Phil Scott's budget veto. GOP lawmakers say they'll continue to reject any spending plan that allows for the possibility of an increase in property tax rates.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

Republicans may have minority status in the Vermont House of Representatives, but they showed Tuesday they’re still a force to be reckoned with.

House Minority Leader Don Turner said he expects his Republican caucus to sustain the budget veto issued by Gov. Phil Scott last week. Democratic lawmakers are already planning to begin work on a new budget proposal, if the veto override vote fails.
Angela Evancie / VPR file

Democratic lawmakers Tuesday will attempt to override Gov. Phil Scott’s latest budget veto, but House Minority Leader Don Turner said he’s “pretty confident” his caucus has the numbers needed to sustain the veto.

Sens. Jane Kitchel, Tim Ashe and Ann Cummings, from left, called on Gov. Phil Scott Thursday to develop a contingency plan in the event of a government shutdown.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

Gov. Phil Scott Thursday night vetoed the state budget passed by lawmakers last week. And with Scott and the Legislature still at odds over one key policy issue, elected officials are calling on the administration to develop a contingency plan in the event of a government shutdown.

Orleans County Sen. John Rodgers was an outspoken critic of Gov. Phil Scott's support for new gun laws in Vermont. Now, Rodgers is waging a write-in campaign for the Democratic nomination for governor.
Jeb Wallace-Brodeur / Courtesy, Times Argus

His name won’t be on the ballot for the primary, but Essex-Orleans District Sen. John Rodgers says he is a Democratic candidate for governor, thanks to what he calls a “grassroots” write-in candidacy being waged on his behalf.

In a memo to lawmakers and the Scott administration, State Treasurer Beth Pearce, right, warned of dire consequences if they don't soon resolve their budget impasse.
Angela Evancie / VPR file

State Treasurer Beth Pearce says Vermont will begin to experience serious fiscal setbacks if Gov. Phil Scott and Democratic lawmakers don’t resolve their budget impasse soon.

Members of the Vermont Poor People's Campaign block traffic in downtown Montpelier on Monday, June 4. The group says it's using non-violent protest to call attention to poverty, systemic racism and ecological destruction.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

Inspired by the organizing tactics of Martin Luther King Jr., a coalition of Vermont activists is using 40 days of nonviolent protest in Montpelier to launch the “fusion movement” they say is needed to alleviate poverty.

James Lyall, executive director of the ACLU of Vermont, seated as a desk
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

The Vermont chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union is looking to boost the profile of political contests that often fly under the radar: the race for county prosecutor.

Gov. Scott delivered his 2018 budget address before a joint session of the Vermont Legislature.
Emily Alfin Johnson / VPR/file

Prior to this year, a Vermont governor had vetoed the budget only twice in state history. Gov. Phil Scott may soon match that number in 2018 alone.

Members of the House Appropriations Committee meet outside the House chamber Friday to consider a proposed budget amendment. The House gave preliminary approval to a new budet Friday, but Gov. Phil Scott says he'll veto it, unless they make changes.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

The Vermont House of Representatives has given preliminary approval to its second budget of the year, but the latest spending plan looks destined for the same gubernatorial veto the first one got.

Gov. Phil Scott says an anti-racism bill passed by the Legislature contains an unconstitutional provision. But though he vetoed the bill, he says he'll move forward voluntarily with an almost identical initiative.
Angela Evancie / VPR/file

Gov. Phil Scott has vetoed legislation that would have created a new position in the executive branch to deal with systemic racism in state government. Scott, however, says he’s moving forward voluntarily with an almost identical initiative.

A majority of Vermonters say they support raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour. Democrats hope Gov. Phil Scott's opposition to the wage increase will hurt support for Republicans in the November elections.
Angela Evancie / VPR file

Republican Gov. Phil Scott and Democratic lawmakers are inching closer to a budget compromise that would avoid the possibility of a government shutdown. But when it comes to the core issue that led to the impasse, the two sides remain at odds.

Zymora Davinchi, Rep. Kiah Morris, and Keith Goslant, from right, spoke in support of an ethnic studies bill at a forum in May. Supporters of the legisaltion have struggled to gain traction for the bill in Montpelier.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

Racial justice advocates say students of color often don’t see themselves reflected in public school curriculum in Vermont, but supporters of an ethnic studies bill are having a tough time getting traction in Montpelier.

Ethan Sonneborn, seen here outside the chamber of the Vermont House of Representatives, says he wants more young people to get engaged in the political process.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

At 14 years old, Bristol resident Ethan Sonneborn is by far the youngest candidate in the 2018 race for governor. And he’s using his platform to get more young people interested in civics.

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?

Amid boos and cheers, Gov. Phil Scott signed three pieces of gun control legislation on the front steps of the Statehouse in April. The VPR-Vermont PBS poll shows Vermonters by and large approve of the law.
Emily Alfin Johnson / VPR file

In the last four days, 41 bills have become law in Vermont. Here's a breakdown of what they are, what they do and when they go into effect.

Tax Commissioner Kaj Samsom, center, said in an email to employees Monday that their "anxiety" and "stress" over the prospect of a government shutdown is unncessary.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR file

Last week, after telling lawmakers he’d be vetoing their state budget proposal, Gov. Phil Scott sent a letter to legislative leadership, insisting the two sides “are very close to an agreement.”

It appears Scott may have misjudged the severity of the divide.

Gov. Phil Scott says an anti-racism bill passed by the Legislature contains an unconstitutional provision. But though he vetoed the bill, he says he'll move forward voluntarily with an almost identical initiative.
Angela Evancie / VPR/file

Lawmakers head back to the Statehouse Wednesday morning for a special legislative session, but leaders in the House and Senate don’t anticipate an action-packed agenda this week.

Gov. Phil Scott in April before signing three pieces of gun legislation into law. Today, he chose instead to veto legislation sent to him by the legislature.
Chip Allen / Times Argus

Gov. Phil Scott vetoed four bills Tuesday, including one that would have raised the minimum wage to $15 by 2024. Scott also vetoed legislation that would have created a mandatory paid family leave program in Vermont. 

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