Roger Chesley

Roger Chesley

Longtime columnist and editorial writer Roger Chesley worked at the (Newport News) Daily Press and The (Norfolk) Virginian-Pilot from 1997 through 2018. He previously worked at newspapers in Cherry Hill, N.J., and Detroit. Reach him at [email protected]


You shouldn’t need an incentive to do the right thing

By: - August 3, 2021

COVID-19’s delta variant is wreaking havoc among the unvaccinated across the United States. New coronavirus cases are rising. People who should know better continue to raise doubts about the vaccines fighting the pandemic – one that’s killed more than 613,000 people nationwide. Amid this plague, several states are offering cold, hard cash to entice people […]

Unemployment benefits aren’t the only thing keeping workers at home

By: - July 27, 2021

Business owners, chambers of commerce types and some local officials around Virginia swore that ending enhanced unemployment benefits – of $300 a week from the federal government – would propel folks back into the workforce who’d been home during the pandemic.  The commonwealth should play a figurative Scrooge, these folks said, because places including restaurants, […]


Curbing killings also means changing culture

By: - July 21, 2021

Anti-violence groups in the commonwealth, spurred on by a national organization started by former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, have staked a claim for tens of millions of dollars in federal pandemic and economy-boosting money at the General Assembly’s disposal. The fledgling Virginia Community Violence Coalition has made a smart, critical bid for $37 million of […]


A clearer picture is emerging of Glenn Youngkin

By: - July 14, 2021

It was difficult, at first, figuring out who Glenn Youngkin is. The Republican nominee for governor in Virginia has been something of a chameleon so far, hard to characterize, often evasive on positions.  You get the sense this is no accident, that the candidate and his campaign would prefer to spout pithy platitudes – “We […]


More smiles. More health. More life.

By: - July 8, 2021

Kyle Willis is the poster man for the importance of maintaining healthy teeth. Not “poster child.” The 24-year-old’s story is one sadly shared by too many low-income adults across the country, though not always with the tragic outcome Willis endured. It’s astounding what he experienced could happen in the United States.  That’s why a new […]


Partisanship, race play too much of a role in recall efforts around Virginia

By: - June 30, 2021

When supporters of a rarely used tactic to remove a politician from office – in this case, state Sen. Louise Lucas – feel compelled to say the effort isn’t racially motivated, be very, very suspicious. After all, recall efforts of local and state elected officials in Virginia in recent years have often spotlighted African-American politicians. […]


Yes scams are numbingly commonplace. But since people keep falling for them, it’s crucial to spotlight the grifters.

By: - June 24, 2021

I hope there’s a special place in hell reserved for the ringleader of an overseas scam that fleeced thousands of Americans — mostly the elderly — of an eye-popping $10 million. They included a Chesterfield County woman, listed in federal court records as “VICTIM #1,” who was taken for nearly a half-million dollars. That was […]


Overcoming vaccine hesitancy with FOMO

By: - June 16, 2021

Too many people in Virginia and nationwide are refusing the COVID-19 vaccines that can help us quash the current pandemic. It’s a dying shame.  That’s not a misprint. As I write this, about 600,000 Americans have perished since February 2020 from the disease. The rate of deaths, though, have dropped considerably since the advent of […]


System ‘needs to be broken’: Pharrell Williams launching Norfolk private school

By: - June 10, 2021

Virginia Beach native and multiple Grammy Award winner Pharrell Williams has announced he’ll create a private school in Norfolk initially aimed at third-to-fifth-graders from low-income families. He will thus become the latest entertainer around the country to spearhead an alternative to traditional schools.  It will be called Yellowhab and provide tuition-free education for the original […]


There’s an easy fix for complaints about a labor shortage. Cutting benefits isn’t it.  

By: - June 4, 2021

Prescriptions for getting Virginia back to work, written by two business leaders from Hampton Roads, are so tone deaf and offensive that I wondered if they were serious.  The leaders of their local chambers of commerce — one of whom has pocketed an annual compensation package of nearly $300,000 — wrote recently that the commonwealth […]


Do you believe us now?

By: - May 28, 2021

“Do you believe us now?” That’s what Black people are saying across Virginia about the way people of color are stopped, sweated and searched by law-enforcement officers in the state. Often based on racial profiling. Often due to nothing more than a whim. First came the now-viral video of two Windsor patrol officers and their […]

A storm passes over the Capitol. (Ned Oliver/Virginia Mercury - Sept. 11, 2018)

Virginia should jettison its special privileges for lawyer-lawmakers

By: - May 25, 2021

Billy Robinson Jr., the brilliant, late legislator-attorney, was the worst abuser of a state law that allows repeated delays if court dates conflict with time periods surrounding General Assembly sessions and committee meetings. News stories on the Norfolk Democrat — chronicling complaints from crime victims and prosecutors in cases Robinson handled — were plentiful during […]