Peter Hirschfeld | Connecticut Public Radio
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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.

Voters in the Democratic primary delivered an electoral mandate on Tuesday. Now, Sue Minter will try to use it to become Vermont’s first female governor in 25 years.

As Primary Day nears, outside groups have begun pouring hundreds of thousands of dollars into Vermont’s races for governor, and yet more cash could find its way into the election before Tuesday’s vote.

Democrats long ago raised concerns about the fact that Lt. Gov. Phil Scott owns a construction business that regularly bids on government transportation contracts. Now, Scott’s opponent in the GOP gubernatorial primary is joining them. 

Last Friday, Democratic candidate for governor Matt Dunne issued a press release detailing his stance on wind energy projects in Vermont. His position hasn’t gone over well with some of his key supporters, and one of his primary rivals has become the beneficiary of their anger.

Many delegates from Vermont arrived at the Democratic National Convention this week ready to continue the political battle for Bernie Sanders. They’re now coming to terms with the fact that the convention in Philadelphia has marked the end of his presidential campaign.

On Tuesday night at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Sen. Bernie Sanders put an official end to his presidential candidacy by formally moving to nominate Hillary Clinton as the nominee.

“Unity” seems to be the one-word mantra that Democratic National Committee officials are using to frame this week’s national convention in Philadelphia. But many Vermont delegates aren’t ready to hold political hands with their party’s presumptive nominee quite yet.

The 2016 Democratic presidential primary was in some ways as much as referendum on the nominating process as it was on the candidates themselves. A key committee at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia has now moved to curb the influence of so-called superdelegates on the primary process, and several Vermonters helped lead the push for the changes.

Vermont has became the first state in the nation to require special labeling for foods made with genetically modified ingredients. But even as lawmakers enact new GMO regulations, this state’s agriculture sector is wholeheartedly embracing the use of GMO crops. And a new report suggests that the use of herbicides has gone up drastically as a result.

Doctors in Vermont will soon face new limits on the number of narcotic pain pills they can prescribe to patients.

Vermont has become the fifth state in the nation to enact legislation that requires businesses to provide their workers with paid sick leave.

Since launching his candidacy for president last May, Sen. Bernie Sanders has watched his poll numbers explode. But Hillary Clinton continues to hold a major advantage with the black and Latino voters that will be key to winning the Democratic nomination. Sanders says he’s convinced he can close that gap.

Earlier this month, no less an authority than TeenVogue declared that Bernie Sanders is “killin' it” with millennials.

A three-ring political circus arrived in Burlington, Vt., Thursday when Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump held a campaign rally in one of the most liberal cities in the country.

In the past two presidential elections, two-thirds of Vermont's voters chose Barack Obama over Republican candidates, so why did Trump even bother to campaign in Vermont?

One of the state’s largest employers is about to undergo a major change in ownership. Keurig Green Mountain, the Waterbury-based coffee company that employs more than 600 people statewide, is to be bought by an investor group for $13.9 billion. But state officials say they’re confident that Vermont workers will keep their jobs.

In 1996, California became the first state to legalize medical marijuana. Eleven years ago, Vermont followed suit. But doctors still know surprisingly little about the pharmacology of cannabis. And a Vermont-based think-tank is hoping to transform the industry by applying new scientific rigor to an old drug.

Starting today, Vermonters can register to vote from the comfort of their own homes. Secretary of State Jim Condos says the new online voter registration system will improve access to democracy, and will also make elections less vulnerable to fraud.

An Amtrak passenger train carrying 102 people derailed Monday morning in Northfield after pieces of rock ledge fell onto the tracks. Seven people were injured in the accident, including one who was airlifted to Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center, but emergency officials say it could have been much worse.

Hiring an employee is an expensive proposition. Workers' compensation, social security and other expenses can run thousands of dollars a year, so it's no surprise that companies often try to reduce expenses keeping workers off the payroll, calling them independent contractors instead.

But sometimes they do so in violation of state law. And in a new report, State Auditor Doug Hoffer says the state isn't doing enough to stop a practice known as "misclassification."

The blue-green algae blooms invading Lake Champlain this summer can cause nasty stomach problems and skin irritation  and even liver damage in people who accidentally swallow the water. But researchers say there might be longer-term health consequences for people who come into contact with the blooms. 

Vermont will have a new governor in 2017.

Gov. Peter Shumlin announced Monday afternoon that he won’t seek a fourth term in office. The Democrat says he’ll leave the state in far better shape than he found it. But his Republican critics argue otherwise, and the open seat for governor has made for an early start to the 2016 campaign. 

The future of Vermont’s health insurance exchange depends on the Shumlin administration’s ability to meet a looming deadline. Still unanswered, though, is the question of how to proceed if the milestone goes unmet. Lt. Gov. Phil Scott and top lawmakers think the solution might be in Connecticut.