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. Most recently, Clay spent nearly 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.

Whimsical carvings decorate trees in Orr Park in Montevallo, Alabama. Opinion editor Clay Wirestone walked the park on his recent visit to the state. (Clay Wirestone/Kansas Reflector)

From spine-tingling tales to faces in the trees, Alabama trip puts Kansas in perspective

By: - August 10, 2022

I was driving along an Alabama backroad with my mother-in-law, hearing about various Southern Gothic deaths that had befallen residents of her neighborhood, when I realized something simple yet important: This country is vast. The contiguous United States stretches more than 2,500 miles from coast to coast. Our 50 states go from sapphire blue to […]

Attendees of the Kansans for Constitutional Freedom watch party celebrate after primary election results verify Kansans voted to keep abortion a constitutional right on Tuesday. (Lily O'Shea Becker/Kansas Reflector)

These four dumb responses totally misread the stunning Kansas abortion rights vote

By: - August 8, 2022

You could tell that no one was prepared for the nearly 20-point victory by abortion rights forces in Kansas by the incredibly dumb takes that soon followed. Anti-abortion supporters, insulated by the U.S. Supreme Court over the past half-century from the unpopularity of their beliefs, were faced with a broad public rebuke. This wasn’t a […]

U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids, right, embraces Senate Minority Leader Dinah Sykes at a watch party Tuesday in Overland Park. (Lily O'Shea Becker)

Abortion-rights victory shakes Kansas political landscape from roots to branches

By: - August 3, 2022

The failure of the anti-abortion amendment in Kansas on Tuesday was more than a single election result. It was an earthquake. That quake rumbled across the U.S. political landscape, surprising onlookers who had expected a tight contest or outright victory for anti-choice forces. All of a sudden, the rough political consensus that had formed since […]

Signs for and against the state constitutional amendment have become a common sight throughout Kansas this summer. (Tim Carpenter/Kansas Reflector)

Kansans embark on statewide civics experiment of abortion amendment vote, outcome unknown

By: - August 2, 2022

The abortion amendment battle comes to a head this August election day, and if nothing else it proves that civic debate thrives in Kansas. TV ads burble, yard signs protrude and glossy fliers stuff mailboxes from one side of the state to the other. Online forums buzz with the back and forth. Folks chat in […]

As a Kansas abortion amendment is debated, lies about what it does and doesn't do are obscuring commonsense debate on the topic. (Getty Images)

In Kansas abortion amendment debate, three big lies prevent honest exchanges

By: - July 25, 2022

For a group of people presumably interested in the guidance of the Lord Almighty, backers of the “Value Them Both” amendment have a lot of problems with the Ninth Commandment. They’re lying an awful lot. The state constitutional amendment on the ballot Aug. 2 has been debated ad nauseam in recent months. It would preempt […]

Supporters of women's reproductive rights gather outside the U.S. Supreme Court on May 3, 2022, in protest of a leaked draft ruling that shows the court plans to overturn Roe v. Wade. (Jane Norman/States Newsroom)

One simple question Kansas abortion-rights advocates could ask their opponents

By: - July 18, 2022

Should a 10-year-old girl be forced to give birth to her rapist’s baby? If they want to stop a proposed constitutional amendment from passing, Kansas abortion-rights activists should be asking anti-abortion forces that one question each and every day. If they want a message that slices through congealed rhetoric, that’s the one they should deploy ruthlessly […]

Gov. Laura Kelly announces Wednesday in downtown Topeka that Panasonic will build a $4 billion vehicle battery plant in De Soto. The megaproject is expected to employ 4,000 workers with an average wage of $30. (Sherman Smith/Kansas Reflector)

In rare bipartisan achievement, Kansas leaders dream big to land $4B Panasonic megaproject

By: - July 14, 2022

Sometimes, all you need is a dream, a little luck and a billion dollars. Such was the case with the Panasonic battery plant “megaproject” that Kansas leaders announced Wednesday. Lt. Gov. and Commerce secretary Dave Toland, along with Gov. Laura Kelly and assorted legislative leaders — not to mention U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran in Washington, […]


Derek Schmidt campaign tries to have it both ways on Kansas diversity and fundamental rights

By: - July 13, 2022

Derek Schmidt’s campaign talks out of both sides of its mouth when it comes to diversity. When handling questions about fundamental rights, the presumptive Republican gubernatorial candidate’s operation says different things depending on the audience. Should women have a right to access birth control? Should LGBTQ people have a right to, well, exist? It depends! […]

The U.S. Supreme Court decision raised the importance of an already high-stakes vote in the Aug. 2 Kansas primary on a proposed constitutional amendment that will determine if the right to an abortion will remain in the Kansas constitution. (Noah Taborda/Kansas Reflector)

Summer’s discontents weigh on Kansas mood, political races and long-term outlook

By: - July 11, 2022

Now is the summer of our discontent. The end of Roe v. Wade has shaken the nation. Kansas has been gripped by an amendment vote on just that subject scheduled for next month. Political candidates circle one another like irritable peacocks, knowing that weeks or months of squabbling await. Nationally, inflation has stressed households and […]

Sen. Mark Steffen, R-Hutchinson, sent a letter encouraging Reno County commissioners to fire health department officials He spoke last year at the Freedom Revival in the Heartland at City Center Church in Lenexa. (Tim Carpenter/Kansas Reflector)

Kansas senator’s bullying of county health officials is the height of self-regarding delusion

By: - July 7, 2022

Kansas Sen. Mark Steffen acts as though he’s the hero in his own story. In reality, he’s a single state legislator drunk on imagined power. The Hutchinson anesthesiologist’s high-on-his-own-supply tendencies have been apparent for a while now, but his latest posturing deserves special note. He decided to send a letter to the Reno County health […]


From insulin to abortion, Kansas political leaders put profits ahead of people

By: - July 6, 2022

Type 1 diabetes was on my mind this long weekend. A story from States Newsroom’s national bureau explained how U.S. Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire have united for a bill capping insulin costs. Liz Hamor wrote a moving column for the Reflector about a couple facing a kidney and […]

After a week of challenging news, writes Kansas Reflector opinion editor Clay Wirestone, he retains hope for the future of our state and country. (Tim Carpenter/Kansas Reflector)

We’ve endured a week of historic despair. Let’s keep the embers of hope alight in Kansas.

By: - July 2, 2022

After a week of horrible news, I’m here to write about a word that wasn’t used a lot. Hope. I’m writing about hope today despite the U.S. Supreme Court’s egregiously incorrect rulings on abortion and emissions, despite the appalling testimony before the Jan. 6 committee, despite the fears of what rights will be targeted next […]