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 pulpit, politics and proverbial slaps on the wrist

By: - October 20, 2021

Stick out your hand, Terry McAuliffe. Let me give you a proverbial “slap on the wrist” for the fawning video that Vice President Kamala Harris provided your gubernatorial campaign. It will be shown in 300 predominantly Black churches across Virginia on the Sundays leading up to the Nov. 2 election.  “Virginians, you deserve a leader […]


Redistricting stalemate may have been inevitable. It doesn’t mean the effort was useless.

By: - October 13, 2021

Gridlock and intransigence were predictable when Virginia’s first-ever redistricting commission met to draw new maps for legislative and congressional seats. It was probably inevitable, given the rampant partisanship that pervades politics everywhere in the country – including in the commonwealth. That doesn’t mean the new exercise was “staring at failure,” as one harsh headline blared […]


The threat of domestic terrorism hits home

By: - October 7, 2021

The just-revealed plot to kill Virginia House Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn, no matter how tentative or ephemeral, might well strike fear in anyone in the public sphere. It’s an indicator of the depths of hatred and the eagerness to commit violence among folks who don’t get their way at the ballot box. It’s why domestic terrorists […]


‘Visionary’ leader altered the trajectory of Christopher Newport University

By: - September 30, 2021

Paul Trible – visionary, top showman, eternal optimist – is calling it quits from the academic institution he’s led for a quarter-century. His distinctive stamp will remain for decades at Christopher Newport University, the Peninsula site he has transformed so dramatically that it hardly resembles the place where he became president in 1996.  I usually […]


Roll up your sleeves and get the shot

By: - September 16, 2021

TO: All unvaccinated Virginians FROM: A beleaguered, vaccinated neighbor I get it. You’re anti-authoritarian. You’re independent, and unreceptive to dictates from the government. Maybe you’re fearful still today – in spite of all the evidence to the contrary – about unlikely risks associated with the shots to fight COVID-19.  You’re essential in this ongoing battle. […]


Hey incumbents, the General Assembly will survive without you

By: - September 10, 2021

George Barker may have thought he was in the clear. The state senator from Northern Virginia was the chief sponsor of his chamber’s bill to hold a voter referendum last year to start a redistricting commission. Citizens approved the plan by a large margin. Surely the Fairfax County Democrat, in the Senate since 2008, would find smooth […]


‘The employee is in the catbird seat.’ It’s about time.

By: - September 8, 2021

School divisions around the commonwealth, including the Richmond area and Hampton Roads, are worried about a lack of bus drivers as the new school year starts. Norfolk, for example, has 91 openings, nearly twice the number than at the same time in 2019.  Restaurants and other service industries have resorted to offering higher wages to […]


Racialized comments on vaccination rates are dangerous and irresponsible

By: - August 31, 2021

Most prevarications uttered by Republican politicos can be dismissed, fact-checked or denounced. Remember “Jewish space lasers” setting California lands ablaze? Or the former president suggesting an injection of Lysol could cure coronavirus? However, a Texas GOP official’s steaming pile of excrement about African-Americans and COVID-19 seep into a truly dangerous sphere. It can’t be ignored because this nation has […]

The Virginia Redistricting Commission holds its first in-person meeting Tuesday. (Virginia Mercury)

A glimmer of hope emerges from Redistricting Commission

By: - August 25, 2021

Anti-good government types may have been emboldened last week when panelists met to discuss redrawing Virginia’s political maps. Efforts to improve the redistricting process, so residents have a greater say in who’s representing them — not vice-versa — had taken a beating.  It’s the first time a new 16-member commission, composed of eight citizens and […]


Walking a tightrope on ‘election integrity’

By: - August 12, 2021

If Glenn Youngkin, the Republican nominee for governor, displayed the same analytical skills he’s trumpeted on voting for any other issue, most Virginians would laugh him off the stage.  His claims that elections need greater scrutiny in the commonwealth are ludicrous – and besides, Youngkin should know better. Yet the longtime businessman continues to highlight […]


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, […]