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]


Holding local elections in the fall is the right move

By: - January 20, 2021

You can hear the passion in Jeanne Hanewich’s voice any time she discusses citizen participation in local government. Nor is this a topic the Chesapeake stay-at-home mother — and former paralegal — just took up. She’s worked for several years to get Chesapeake to move local elections — for City Council, School Board and mayor […]


Republicans have no business talking about the integrity of elections

By: - January 14, 2021

Claims by Republican legislators in Virginia about “voter integrity” can sound so, so seductive — until you peel back the layers of their arguments.  Electoral policies often are near the surface when the General Assembly convenes, as it did Wednesday. Among the areas of debate this time: Democrats, including Gov. Ralph Northam, want to amend […]


Alden sets its sights on Tribune and a shudder runs through what’s left of two Virginia newspapers

By: - January 12, 2021

People who value local journalism should be trembling at the announcement that a notorious hedge fund — dedicated to wringing out every last penny of profit moreso than informing the public — has targeted Tribune Publishing. The Chicago-based company’s media outlets include The Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk, billed as the state’s largest newspaper, and the (Newport […]


Despite grief and anger, new policing law is progress

By: - December 23, 2020

No new law regulating police confrontations with the mentally ill probably will comfort Princess Blanding. After all, a Richmond police officer gunned down her brother as he was undergoing a crisis two years ago — after he’d struck other cars while driving; fled his own vehicle while naked; and threatened to kill the officer. It […]


There are still bright spots, if you look for them

By: - December 16, 2020

This dispiriting, tumultuous year has shaken this country.  We’ve witnessed a quasi-coup by a president who refused to accept his defeat — and who was cravenly supported by elected officials who knew better. It was no less than an assault on democracy.  People who had jobs when 2020 started are out of work. Schoolchildren struggle […]


State GOP leaders fear Chase might be face of the party

By: - December 10, 2020

It’s obvious the state Republican Party has little faith the bulk of its followers will — as the saying goes — “do the right thing.” Why else would the leadership get twisted up in knots during debate about its gubernatorial nominating process for 2021, all so it could hamper state Sen. Amanda Chase, R-Trumpville? Actually, […]


Clearing the air at last about marijuana prohibition

By: - December 3, 2020

My attitudes toward America’s hypocritical — and racially biased — stance on marijuana were formed during my high school and college years in Washington. Those sentiments have only hardened since then.  I’ve revisited those days as the commonwealth now considers legalizing pot. Gov. Ralph Northam said he plans to propose legislation to do just that […]


Mr. President: Spare us the rest

By: - November 27, 2020

Coronavirus claimed its highest daily number of U.S. deaths since May earlier this week, and the Texas National Guard was forced to deploy a team for the grim task of helping out with the morgues in El Paso.  School districts around the country, including in Virginia, are debating whether to continue teaching online, or bring […]


Lost in the pandemic pettiness and partisanship is the human toll of the virus

By: - November 19, 2020

Nearly a quarter-million Americans have died from COVID-19, including more than 3,800 here in Virginia. Yet they are more than simply numbers to tote up.  Each had dreams and goals, many had careers, and some had children – or, sadly, were just children themselves. Many toiled at 9-to-5 jobs and lived quietly. Others garnered a […]


A troubling foray to Philly and other election observations

By: - November 11, 2020

A few thoughts about Election 2020 and its aftermath: • Why did two men from Chesapeake – supporters of Republican candidates, and one an adherent to bizarre QAnon conspiracies – tote an AR-15 style rifle and handguns to Philadelphia while trying to monitor vote-counting in the closely contested Keystone State? That’s what local and federal […]


Too many have sacrificed too much for us to sit on the sidelines on Election Day

By: - November 3, 2020

NBA superstar Bradley Beal and other Black players say they’re voting – for the very first time – in this year’s presidential election. The Washington Wizards shooting guard thus joined colleagues who are finally heading to the polls today, or who voted early in their respective states. I’m encouraged by the move, but also incensed […]


The consequences of rugged individualism in a pandemic

By: - October 29, 2020

Americans can be a selfish lot. Not everybody, of course. But too many people couldn’t care less about taking the necessary steps to keep deaths and infections from COVID-19 at bay. It’s not that hard: Stay at home as much as possible. Wear a mask out in public and in buildings. Wash your hands. Avoid […]