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 ‘city that cares’ is now Virginia’s second-largest

By: - February 21, 2020

I bet you can name the largest city in many states across America. But what about the second largest? California’s is easy: San Diego trails Los Angeles. North Carolina? Many know Raleigh, the state capital, is No. 2 behind Charlotte.  What about Virginia? Spoiler alert: The city of Norfolk, long the second city to the […]


Virginia should do away with clause exempting lawmakers from arrest during session

By: - February 6, 2020

When is a drunken-driving arrest not really a drunken-driving arrest? When a Virginia legislator is behind the wheel — and the General Assembly happens to be in session. Del. Chris Hurst, D-Montgomery, knows all about it.  A traffic stop involving the delegate has shed some light on a little-known section in the state Constitution. An […]


We know where Pompeo’s propensity for bullying comes from

By: - January 30, 2020

Here’s a piece of advice for Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, one of President Donald Trump’s chief sycophants and enablers: Get an extra layer or two of skin. You’re definitely on the thin side. And bone up on the ground rules that journalists use. You’re way too ignorant of them. Pompeo — who’s obviously in […]


Holidays honoring Lee, Jackson, were always a slap in the face for black people

By: - January 28, 2020

These are the circumstances black Virginians faced in 1890, the year the General Assembly established the forerunner of Lee-Jackson Day to honor the two Confederate generals from the Civil War: Seven black people had been lynched in the commonwealth just the year before, according to the book “100 Years of Lynchings,” by Ralph Ginzburg. The […]


Cooperative approach on new arena in Hampton Roads is a slam dunk

By: - January 23, 2020

No one would argue that Hampton Roads is “just fine” without a new arena. Quite the contrary. The two major ones, Hampton Coliseum and the Norfolk Scope, have no more than about 13,000 seats – even fewer depending on the configuration for specific events. Both are roughly a half-century old, and they often look it. […]


Governor’s support of HBCUs laudable, though financial, other struggles continue

By: - January 6, 2020

Gov. Ralph Northam’s pledge to boost funding for the state’s two, public black universities — assuming the General Assembly agrees — will help counteract decades of state neglect and provide financial flexibility to campus administrators.  What it won’t do is solve the ongoing conundrum facing historically black colleges and universities: How do they attract enough […]


Turning to ex-Sen. John Warner, among the last of a breed, as Trump trial looms

By: - December 19, 2019

We have few honest brokers in Congress anymore. It’s one of the most inarguable statements about the lawmakers sitting in judgment of Donald Trump. The House of Representatives, controlled by Democrats, just approved two articles of impeachment against the president because Trump urged a foreign nation – Ukraine – to dig up dirt on Joe Biden. […]


Pair of firearms reports inspires despair more than hope

By: - November 18, 2019

Two reports involving guns were released in the past week – one on possible firearms legislation in Richmond, the other studying the horror of the massacre at the Virginia Beach municipal complex this spring. After reading both, call me bewildered.  The lack of recommendations from the former, and the absence of “warning signs or prohibited […]


In Virginia Beach and Suffolk, Trump loomed large in hard-fought battles for control of the legislature

By: - November 6, 2019

VIRGINIA BEACH — Abortion. Rejection of Donald Trump and all his minions. A desire to show their children that, through voting, they can effect change. Those were the reasons repeated time and time again by voters in Suffolk and Virginia Beach on Tuesday. Local and state candidates were on the ballot. Most said they’ve voted […]


Elected officials, take heed: You’re all replaceable 

By: - October 24, 2019

I’ll never run for elective office – not that the electorate is pining for me, anyway. Because when you throw your hat into the ring, private issues suddenly become fair game for public scrutiny. Things the news media wouldn’t cover involving everyday citizens suddenly show up on the front page, live at 6 p.m., or […]


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 […]