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]


Excising racial designations on marriage licenses a tiny step toward progress

By: - October 18, 2019

Octoroon. Quadroon. Aryan.  In the year 2019, these were some of the hideous choices folks wanting to marry in Virginia could select under the heading of race. Sure, there were other options, and the list wasn’t uniform among the various localities. Some choices weren’t as incendiary.  But the point is – under state law – […]


Loudest voices were wrong about Northam’s effectiveness post-yearbook controversy

By: - October 7, 2019

Imagine the political climate the commonwealth would’ve faced had Gov. Ralph Northam acceded to the harsh voices demanding his resignation, following the discovery months ago of a racist photo on his decades-old yearbook page. We could’ve had hearings in the General Assembly over rape allegations against Justin Fairfax, who would’ve risen to the state’s chief […]

‘This hospital will be something huge’: New facility to provide urgently needed children’s mental-health beds

By: - September 17, 2019

NORFOLK — State, local and mental health officials – led by Gov. Ralph Northam – broke ground Tuesday on a $224 million hospital to treat children and teenagers who suffer from mental illness. It’s a population that now struggles to find services across Virginia because of a dearth of such facilities. Some 600 people applauded during […]


Amid creeping carnage, one Virginia police chief keeps spotlight on black men as crime victims – and suspects

By: - September 5, 2019

Chief Larry Boone has taken to begging. As young black men continue to wield guns to settle differences, rob and murder each other, Norfolk’s top cop has repeatedly criticized, cajoled and complained this past year in community gatherings, press conferences and through social media.  Boone is urging everyone to approach gun crimes the same way […]


So many shootings, such meager concern

By: - August 27, 2019

State Republican legislators resistant to new gun laws should’ve met 18-year-old TyQuisha K. Craig – or, at the very least, now learn about her brief life. Someone shot and killed the young community college student in 2014 as she was leaving a house party in Norfolk. Her mother told me the young woman wanted to […]


Hey big business, keep your fangs out of my holiday

By: - August 18, 2019

I like that my birthday falls on Halloween. Always have, even though I’ve heard all the corny jokes — “You definitely were a trick, not a treat!” “You can save money by using your face as a mask!” — throughout my nearly three-score years.  The Oct. 31 milestone (6:45 a.m. in a D.C. hospital, for […]


Legislator knows where blame truly lies in ballot screw-up 

By: - August 7, 2019

Del. Nicholas Freitas asserts state elections officials are picking on him.  The bullies. They won’t give him a pass for his inattention to detail. The Culpeper Republican even took to his Facebook page last week, casting aspersions on two of Gov. Ralph Northam’s appointees on the state Board of Elections.  Freitas was a little light, […]


A train ride, a delay – and a death

By: - July 31, 2019

Amtrak Train 93 was already an hour late when it headed south out of Washington bound for Norfolk the other evening. Many passengers – including me – just longed for a cozy bed to envelop them as we got closer to Hampton Roads. The Petersburg station, the penultimate stop on this journey, was tantalizingly close.  […]


Students activism should shame officials into action

By: - July 9, 2019

Actions by students at two Virginia schools – turning a spotlight on the crumbling conditions of their individual facilities– should shame local and state officials to provide the necessary money to rectify the problems. You would think school administrators would herald the initiative by the teenagers, who, in the best investigative tradition, researched the shortcomings, […]


Virginia Beach City Council missed a chance to stand up for localities on gun restrictions

By: - June 26, 2019

Virginians looking to the state’s largest city for something bold on gun policy, following the massacre at a local municipal building, got tepidness instead.  The Virginia Beach City Council recently voted, 8-2, to indefinitely postpone a resolution supporting state legislation allowing localities to ban firearms in government buildings. State law prohibits localities from restricting people […]

Del. Chris Jones, R-Suffolk, defended a remedial redistricting proposal that a House panel advanced Thursday on a party-line vote. (Ned Oliver/Virginia Mercury - Sept. 27, 2018)

Redistricting: There’s a better way to do this

By: - June 19, 2019

Here we are, just a year and a half from the 2021 redistricting in the commonwealth, and Virginia finally has legitimate legislative and congressional maps following the politicized process in 2011. This resolution comes by way of a U.S. Supreme Court decision this week. A 5-4 majority of the justices said the Republican-controlled state House […]


Virginia’s largest city joins an ever-expanding, grisly list

By: - June 2, 2019

Virginia Beach, with its 450,000 people, typically boasts of its stellar public schools, miles-long sandy Oceanfront, high median household income and the Navy’s East Coast master jet base. Native son and entertainer Pharrell Williams put the place on the global map just a few weeks ago, when he hosted a jam-packed, widely lauded festival. This […]