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

House Ways and Means chairwoman Janet Ancel is hopeful that this is the year for lawmakers to consider a new plan to fund education
Angela Evancie / VPR file

The chairwoman of the House Committee on Ways and Means says changes in the federal tax code could force some tough decisions for Vermont lawmakers next year.

Chittenden Sen. Chris Pearson says Vermont can reduce carbon emissions and stimulate the economy by increasing the price of gas and home heating oil, and lowering electric rates.
Angela Evancie / VPR/file

Backers of the latest proposal for a carbon tax in Vermont say lawmakers can increase the price of gasoline and home heating oil without inflicting financial stress on residents and businesses.

Chief Health Care Advocate Mike Fisher, center, says a new "calculator," developed by his office, will spotlight  the financial hardships faced by Vermont families trying to buy health insurance.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR/file

As chief health care advocate for the state of Vermont, Mike Fisher spends a lot of time thinking about rising medical costs. And he’s trying a new way to put the issue of affordability at the forefront of the health care debate.

Vermont Statehouse dome on a cloudy day.
Kirk Carapezza / VPR/file

A wave of new allegations against members of Congress has prompted a sweeping review of sexual harassment policies in the nation’s capital. But in Montpelier, it’s a previously undisclosed incident from this past April that state lawmakers are trying to learn from.

House Minority Leader Don Turner says House and Senate Republicans stand united in opposition against proposed legislation that would send the minimum wage in Vermont to $15 an hour.
Angela Evancie / VPR

The political battle lines are taking shape in what will likely be one of the more contentious policy debates of the 2018 legislative session.

According to campaign finance disclosures, Republican Gov. Phil Scott has raised more than twice as much money toward his 2018 reelection bid than any of the other four candidates challenging him for the office.
Angela Evancie / VPR file

Gov. Phil Scott presented his plan Wednesday for how to spend money from one of the largest environmental settlements in state history, but the proposal is already drawing fire from some environmental groups.

Senate President Pro Tem Tim Ashe says finding ways to reduce the cost of prescription drugs is a top priority for him in the new session
Angela Evancie / VPR FILE

Senate President Pro Tem Tim Ashe says raising the state minimum wage to $15 an hour will be one of his top priorities for the 2018 legislative session.

Vermont Statehouse dome on a cloudy day.
Kirk Carapezza / VPR/file

A few years ago, Vermont enacted a law that tries to give the general public a bigger role in the budget writing process, but one legislator says the Scott administration isn’t following the spirit of the statute.

An array of cheeses is displayed at a cheese festival. Many Vermont cheeses have won national and international awards. Dr. Paul Kindstedt tells Vermont Edition why.
Catherine Hays / VPR File

Vermont cheesemakers frequently earn prestigious titles in national and international cheese competitions. At the World Cheese Awards last week, Jasper Hill’s “Little Hosmer” garnered the title of Best New Cheese. “Little Hosmer” and Vermont Creamery’s “Cremont” were both awarded Super Gold medals, making it among the top 66 cheeses in the world. 

But while many in enjoy Vermont cheeses, can you describe why?

Courtesy: NOFA-VT

Are Organic Standards working?

We talk with Maddie Kempner, membership and advocacy coordinator with NOFA-VT, to answer this question. We’ll also hear from Pete Johnson, owner of Pete’s Greens in Craftsbury and Jesse McDougall of Studio Hill Farm in Shaftsbury. Hill helped author a bill on  regenerative agriculture currently before the Vermont Senate.

On a recent Sunday, as warm sun burned the morning dew off the cover crops at Wild Roots Farm in Bristol, Jon Turner explained the guiding philosophy behind his unique agriculture operation.

For Lucas Papineau, who joined the Vermont National Guard when he was 18 years old, farming has helped repair his relationship with his family.

Brett, who served in the Army, has brought in a small flock of sheep to start reclaiming the soil.

Sabrina and Lucas Papineau with their children, Jeremiah and Aubrey, at the Papineau Family Farm in Highgate Springs. The Papineaus say farming helped them reintegrate as a family after Lucas' deployment to Afghanistan in 2010..
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

Nearly 4,000 Vermont veterans have served in Iraq and Afghanistan since 9/11, and many are still dealing with the invisible wounds of the nation’s longest-running war. Some of them, however, have begun to find healing through farming.

House Speaker Mitzi Johnson, center, says Vermont lawmakers will consider numerous bills next year that would give Vermonters more recourse when their personal data is hacked.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

Vermont lawmakers say they’ll try to put new safeguards on residents’ personal data in the next session, after the massive security breach at Equifax earlier this year.

Workers from Stowe Electric tend to damage from a fallen tree on Moscow Road Tuesday. Utility officials say the scope of the damage from Sunday's storm has complicated recovery efforts.
Amy Kolb Noyes / VPR

Tens of thousands of Vermonters moved into their second day without electricity Tuesday, and utilities say it could be days until they restore power to everyone.

A tree downed on a powerline in Monkton, Vermont. Thousands of homes and buisnesses have been without power since wind storms hit the region on Sunday.
Jane Lindholm / VPR

More than 150,000 Vermonters were without electricity Monday after severe winds felled power lines across the state, and utility officials say it could be days before some homes and businesses have the power back on.

The issue of whether to levy a tax on carbon pollution hasn't gained much traction yet in Montpelier. Vermont Businesses for Social Responsiblity is trying to broaden support for the concept.
Angela Evancie / VPR file

The idea of a tax on gasoline and heating oil is politically fraught, to say the least, but one Vermont business group says it’s time for elected officials to embrace the carbon tax.

John Cotter, Margaret Cheney and Tom Knauer, from left, of the Public Utility Commission. On Thursday, a legislative panel approved the commission's proposal for stricter sound limits for wind turbines.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR file

In approving stricter sound limits for ridgeline wind turbines Thursday afternoon, the Legislative Committee on Administrative Rules has managed to upset both sides on the wind energy debate.

Sen. Christopher Bray is backing a per parcel fee on all property in Vermont to help fund water quality projects
courtesy / the Vermont Department of Health

A government official’s decision to bring armed law-enforcement officers to maintain order at a public meeting on water quality has raised questions about the use of force.

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