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]


The General Assembly keeps finding ways to not solve Virginia’s school construction problem

By: - March 10, 2022

You’ve got to hand it to the 140 Honorables in Richmond. When presented with massive problems that require determined, disciplined, dedicated solutions, they often do far less than required.  And then they pat themselves on the back – in constituent and campaign literature – proclaiming “everything’s fine!” and that they’ve fixed things. It’s downright nauseating.  […]


Changes in decertification of police should bolster trust among Virginians

By: - February 24, 2022

More law enforcement officers in Virginia, under scrutiny for complaints about excessive force and lying since early last year, can no longer find similar jobs elsewhere in the commonwealth. This is a good development, one that bolsters confidence among residents about the quality and professionalism of police officers, sheriff’s deputies and state troopers. The changes […]


Governor’s racial miscue could’ve been ignored but for his campaign rhetoric

By: - February 16, 2022

Teeth-grinding annoyance. That’s what comes to mind as I ruminate over Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s gaffe last week, after he mixed up the identities of two African-American female senators. Since there are only three – three! – in the 40-member Senate, the odds were in his favor of getting it right.  Maybe he shouldn’t gamble. Sen. […]


Youngkin may get his mask victory, but he should learn he’s not a monarch

By: - February 10, 2022

Let’s hope novice politico Glenn Youngkin – eager to appease his base by banning mask mandates in schools – paid attention after an Arlington County judge hauled the governor to the woodshed. The proverbial paddling probably stung.  It’s a positive outcome, though, if you believe in the rule of law and the state Constitution. That’s […]


If it won’t help, the legislature should get out of the way on school construction

By: - February 3, 2022

Virginia’s plight of crumbling school buildings – more than half of them are at least a half-century old – has been well-documented. The problem isn’t new, either.  A General Assembly commission studying public school construction and modernization, in a report last year, said the total replacement cost for the 1,000-plus buildings over 50 years old […]


How the Big Lie lives on in Virginia politics

By: - January 27, 2022

Let’s thank leading state Republican legislators for their cognitive dissonance on voting laws. The muddled mindset provides a stark choice for Virginians on what we want this state to be. Will we welcome all citizens at polling booths and through absentee ballots, making elections more accessible to everyone? Or will we erect new barriers based […]


Youngkin quickly embraces culture wars, telegraphing a worrisome four years

By: - January 20, 2022

That didn’t take long. At all. Gov. Glenn Youngkin roared out of the starting blocks after being sworn in a few days ago: He issued executive orders and authored proclamations and promulgated his own share of wrongheadedness. His actions will surely inflame the culture wars. The moves won’t necessarily be effective, either.  His fellow Republicans […]


Bolster our dispirited medical workers by getting vaccines, wearing masks, being unselfish

By: - January 13, 2022

We have broken our frontline health-care workers during the pandemic, mostly because of the intransigence of too many Americans. A microcosm of those results can be seen in the death of Alva Daniels, a respiratory therapist from Roanoke. You should read The Washington Post’s recent feature on Daniels. He was just 38 when he committed […]


The outgoing AG threw down a gauntlet on discriminatory policing. Will his successor pick it up?

By: - January 5, 2022

Mark Herring, the soon-to-be former Virginia attorney general, has thrown down the gauntlet against the policing practices in the small town of Windsor.  The question is whether Jason Miyares, Herring’s successor, will take it up – ensuring fair treatment of Blacks, Latinos and other people of color during traffic stops by law enforcement agencies. We’ll […]


A last-minute budget gambit won’t solve gun violence in Virginia

By: - December 22, 2021

Ralph Northam, the soon-to-be former governor, waited until this month to announce a $27.4 million firearm violence prevention center in Virginia. It would “continue the work of reducing violence and making Virginia safe for everyone,” he said. The move is noble. And largely an empty gesture.  Northam, a Democrat, rolled the plan into his final […]


New legislative maps keep faith with Virginia voters

By: - December 16, 2021

Voting advocates, civic activists and everyday Virginians should commend draft redistricting maps that so-called “special masters” drew at the behest of the state Supreme Court.  What about current lawmakers who would have to campaign over new territory, or face off against fellow incumbents because of the new maps? Not so much.  U.S. Rep. Abigail Spanberger, […]


Will Youngkin’s rigid regulation-slashing pledge clash with common sense?

By: - December 9, 2021

Glenn Youngkin, Virginia’s soon-to-be-inaugurated governor, made hay out of several campaign slogans that propelled him to an upset victory in November. The Republican political novice, for instance, often stated he would slash 25 percent of “job-killing regulations” on day one after he takes the oath of office Jan. 15. There was Youngkin last week, proclaiming […]