Clay Wirestone

Clay Wirestone

Clay Wirestone has written columns and edited reporting for newsrooms in Kansas, New Hampshire, Florida and Pennsylvania. He has also fact checked politicians, researched for Larry the Cable Guy, and appeared in PolitiFact, Mental Floss, and a host of other publications. Before joining the Reflector, Clay spent four years at the nonprofit Kansas Action for Children as communications director. Beyond the written word, he has drawn cartoons, hosted podcasts, designed graphics and moderated debates. Clay graduated from the University of Kansas and lives in Lawrence with his husband and son.


Five things we’ve learned about Kansans from taking Kansas Reflector on the road

By: - March 28, 2023

Council Grove. Hutchinson. Valley Falls. Manhattan. Over the past couple of months, Kansas Reflector staff have fanned out across the state of Kansas to talk about what we do and why to a variety of audiences. This Thursday, we will descend on Newton for out latest stop (and I hear you can still get a […]


Ruined beauty of Kansas: Ghost towns and buildings splinter under weight of time

By: - March 26, 2023

As a week of spring break wound down, my son told me that he wanted to explore an abandoned place. Like most ideas generated by his 11-year-old noggin, this one likely came from YouTube. The video sharing site serves up videos aplenty of urban exploration in places like Detroit. Twenty something vloggers excitedly chatter as […]


Statehouse scraps: Catholic lobby’s stance on abuse bill, Medicaid losses, fentanyl frustration

By: - March 25, 2023

News officially overflowed this week. Not only did Kansas Reflector reporters chase a multitude of stories around the Statehouse, but events we already covered unwound in unpredictable ways. You’ll see how throughout today’s roundup. In the middle of this all, we managed to speak to audiences in Hutchinson and Valley Falls. Thanks to the 200 […]


Kansas sex abuse survivors’ efforts bear fruit with a hearing. But we owe children more than that.

By: - March 23, 2023

Kansas owes its kids. It owes them protection. It owes them a better future. For those who have been wronged through sexual abuse, it owes them justice. With a hearing Thursday, the Kansas Legislature has finally — after years of delay — inched toward recognizing that fact. At 10:30 a.m., the Senate Judiciary Committee will […]


Trump, Kobach and Hawkins flap loose lips, sinking Kansans’ trust in our institutions

By: - March 21, 2023

Words matter. Whether they come from a former president facing imminent indictment or a Kansas attorney general and speaker of the House reacting to an election law decision, words matter. What we say and what we write has tangible consequences. At times, those consequences may be surprising. A decade ago, I wrote a number of […]

Oshara Hayes, right, demonstrates in support of Medicaid expansion March 15, 2023, outside the Statehouse in Topeka

Statehouse scraps: The hearings that weren’t, school monopoly loopiness, bills never die in Kansas

By: - March 17, 2023

Where are the hearings? That’s my question as the Kansas Statehouse barrels into its final three weeks. Gov. Laura Kelly and advocates rallied for Medicaid expansion on Wednesday. Forget whether lawmakers want to approve the policy or not. They haven’t even held a single hearing about it this session. Kansas Reflector has run repeated stories […]


Emporia State demands ransom for public records. You deserve to know what they’re hiding.

By: - March 15, 2023

We asked Emporia State University a simple question. After breaking the law in responding to us, the school now wants a preposterous ransom to answer it. You can complicate the matter one way or another, but that’s the situation we face here at Kansas Reflector, as our editors and reporters continually pursue stories that powerful […]

A tour group observes the Brown v. Board mural on the third floor of the Kansas Statehouse, April 26, 2022 (Sherman Smith/Kansas Reflector)

Kansas legislators’ war on the poor opens worrisome new front: School vouchers and tax avoidance

By: - March 13, 2023

Kansas legislative leaders have declared war on the poor. They have pushed bills penalizing those receiving government assistance through the House Welfare Reform Committee. They have advocated a flat tax plan that benefits the wealthy at the expense of everyone else. We have watched these proposals unfold in recent weeks, watched and heard the disdain. […]

Kansas Reflector opinion editor Clay Wirestone is viewed from a safe distance

Statehouse scraps: Big support for voting rights, transgender ban numbers, homelessness bill paused

By: - March 11, 2023

If you haven’t visited the Kansas Statehouse before, I recommend it. The restored building practically glows with early 20th century beauty, and you might spot your favorite lawmaker. You might spot your least-favorite lawmaker too, and if they have a moment you could tell them so. Journalists, including yours truly, show up for the fun. […]

The infamous Kansas abolitionist John Brown as depicted in a detail of John Steuart Curry's famous "Tragic Prelude" mural in the Kansas Capitol

Inside the mind of a typical Kansas lawmaker: Fury as far as the eye can see

By: - March 8, 2023

News item: “You don’t know what woke ideology is?” (Kansas Speaker of the House Dan) Hawkins said when asked to explain the term. “Go and Google it.”   News item: “When asked to define this agenda, (Rep. Pat) Proctor said he didn’t want to discuss it but knew schools should stick to educational basics, such as […]

Rep. Francis Awerkamp

Lawmakers have declared war on the poor. They betray the 340,000 Kansans living in poverty.

By: - March 6, 2023

A battle cry has burst from the Kansas Statehouse, echoing through the marble halls and luxurious chambers. Legislators have focused their energies and coercive powers on a group of some 340,000 Kansans, more than the population of Overland Park. They have declared war on poor people. You only had to visit the Statehouse on Thursday, […]

The Kansas Statehouse inner dome

Statehouse scraps: Turnaround twaddle, stacked hearings multiply, another abortion ban proposed

By: - March 4, 2023

The Kansas Legislature took Monday and Tuesday off this week, which lulled me into a temporary sense of complacency. Topeka, it seemed, was returning to normal. Then Wednesday and Thursday happened, and lawmakers returned with a vengeance. Aha, I thought. Here was the inexplicable incoherence I missed. Stay tuned this week for zombie bills, more […]