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]


Good riddance to Advance America

By: - June 11, 2020

Spare no tears for Advance America, Virginia’s largest payday loan operator. The company has now decided to flee the commonwealth before new, tougher regulations passed by the General Assembly begin next year.  You can bet the more than 80,000 Virginians who got payday loans, just in 2018 alone, from Advance America and similar companies aren’t […]


A horrific slaying, massive protests and depressing déjà vu

By: - June 2, 2020

It’s beginning to look a lot like the mid-1960s across America.  For young people, or those unaware of U.S. history, that’s not a good thing. Protests around the country have escalated following the video-recorded  killing in Minneapolis of George Floyd, a black man slain May 25 as a white police officer kneeled on his neck […]


Huge percentages of absentee voters in May show state must prepare for the same this fall

By: - May 27, 2020

Voters in several localities around the commonwealth participated in last week’s local elections, even if they didn’t queue up at their regular precincts. Given the chance to vote absentee by mail – something state officials had encouraged during the coronavirus pandemic – Virginians did so in droves. That implies two things: We’re taking our civic […]


Practicing religion is more than going to church

By: - May 15, 2020

Folks who criticized Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam for limiting the size of church services the past several weeks – including opportunists in the Trump administration – acted as if the guv were denying residents their right to practice religion.  It’s an odd stance since the regulations, in the face of this awful novel coronavirus pandemic, […]


Trump, Northam pay lip service to safety for workers at meat processing plants

By: - May 1, 2020

You can tell a lot about a person by assessing his priorities. So it’s clear President Donald Trump places a greater value on beef, pork and chicken than he does on human life. It could be due to his love for Quarter Pounders and other fast food.  Think that’s hyperbole? Consider this:  Trump hesitated to […]


Before calling for reopening economies, ask yourselves who’s expendable

By: - April 21, 2020

Here’s a question for all those people rushing headlong to reopen the U.S. economy, some of whom protested in various state capitals over the past week, including here in Virginia. Which one of your children, siblings or parents should be sacrificed on the altar of Wall Street so that consumer spending can return to normal […]


Amid virus, volunteers pitch in

By: - March 27, 2020

Feelings of helplessness have enveloped Priscilla Stephens throughout the COVID-19 outbreak. The new coronavirus is ravaging nations around the globe and communities across America.  But how could she fight back? Stephens decided to become one of hundreds – perhaps thousands – of Virginians who have stepped up recently by volunteering across the commonwealth. The retired […]


Are cameras on the way to stop speeders – or merely to boost municipal coffers?

By: - March 6, 2020

Lead foots around Virginia, beware: State legislators have just made it tougher for you to break speed limits with impunity, at least in certain circumstances. The General Assembly this week passed a bill allowing state and local police to use speed cameras in school and highway work zones. Go at least 10 miles above the […]


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 […]