Clay Wirestone

Clay Wirestone

Clay Wirestone serves as Kansas Reflector's opinion editor. His columns have been published in the Kansas City Star and Wichita Eagle, along with newspapers and websites across the state and nation. He has written and edited 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 Before joining the Reflector in summer 2021, 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.

A hand holding a TV remote with an "I voted" sticker

Six of the most notable, egregious and ridiculous Kansas campaign ads for the midterm election

By: - November 2, 2022

We can nearly see the finish line, folks. On Tuesday, voters will head to the polls in Kansas and across the nation to cast ballots in midterm elections. While we twiddle our thumbs (or cast advance ballots), let’s take a look at some of this season’s most notable, egregious or ridiculous campaign spots. This roundup […]

A view of downtown Lawrence, Kansas

The ‘blue dot’ of Lawrence, Kansas, will soon have a new congressman. No one’s talking about it.

By: - October 31, 2022

Lawrence, a vivid blue dot in the sea of red that is Kansas, could soon be represented in the U.S. House of Representatives by a Republican who opposes abortion rights and voted to overturn the 2020 presidential election. If the Democrat in the race wins, he would have to drive more than five hours from […]

Illustration of angry cartoon face and pointing finger

Silly season descends on Kansas politics: Manufactured outrage enough for everyone!

By: - October 26, 2022

With less than two full weeks remaining until Election Day, Kansas politicians have embraced silly season. That’s known as the time of the campaign cycle when candidate scroungings for votes will say anything — absolutely anything — to make news and shore up support. Few feel overly constrained by the facts. Not with ballots being […]

In the Co/efficient poll released this weekend, 47% of the over 1,500 voters sampled support the so-called “Value Them Both” amendment and 43% are against it. The remaining 10% are undecided. (Margaret Mellott/Kansas Reflector)

Many Kansas Democrats have zipped their lips on abortion rights. That’s a weird choice.

By: - October 24, 2022

A singular mystery looms over election season this year in Kansas. Why aren’t we hearing more about abortion? After all, it was only Aug. 2 that a breathtakingly large majority of Kansans — nearly 60% of voters — turned out to protect abortion rights. They rejected an amendment to the state constitution that would have […]

Council Grove downtown streetscape

Searching for the future of Kansas’ Council Grove in three trees, three places and three people

By: - October 20, 2022

Downtown Council Grove practically floats off the pavement. The 19th century buildings levitate, careful gingerbread constructions of brick and mortar and stone, bringing the past to life while nudging the community into the future. I visited the city, about an hour south of Manhattan, last month. Council Grove isn’t a former industrial town tucked in […]

An original copy of the Declaration of Independence

Democracy balances on the brink in Kansas and U.S. Too many of us choose not to notice.

By: - October 19, 2022

Kansas and all of the United States teeter on the edge of a treacherous canyon. If we drop into that vast gulf, climbing out again will take years if not decades. Yet nearly half of us, if not more, prefer to ignore the yawning abyss. As evidence, I present two separate yet interconnected stories. The […]

Derek Schmidt speaks against Gov. Kelly's pandemic policies during a Wednesday rally. (Rachel Mipro/Kansas Reflector)

Lagging in Kansas governor’s contest, Derek Schmidt plays the race card

By: - October 12, 2022

I don’t believe Attorney General Derek Schmidt is racist. But he’s staking his campaign for governor on the belief that Kansans are. Twice within recent days, the Republican’s lagging campaign has deployed racially fraught ads and rhetoric, all with the apparent goal of scaring voters. It has distorted good work by honorable Kansans and played […]

Christy Davis answers questions for podcast

‘It means community’: Kansas rural development director evangelizes small-town life

By: - October 10, 2022

When I began driving around the state for the Kansas Reflector last year, I didn’t know what to expect. I was raised and educated in Kansas, yes, but I had spent nearly 15 years away. When I returned, I worked in Topeka and Lawrence. The rural areas of my youth weren’t just distant in memory […]

Derek Schmidt appears onstage

Schmidt’s Kansas campaign message: Listen to Virginia, Florida, New Jersey and Kentucky

By: - October 5, 2022

Attorney General Derek Schmidt seems to believe that the pathway to the Kansas governor’s office involves making the race this fall as little about Kansas as possible. What else would you call the appearances with the governors from distant states like Virginia, Florida and New Jersey? Why would Schmidt highlight his stance against transgender students […]


Kansas doesn’t have a brand while New York does? Fuhgeddaboudit!

By: - October 3, 2022

Here’s a three-word response to New York City Mayor Eric Adams’ claim last week that Kansas doesn’t have a brand. Sunflowers, tornadoes and abolitionists. Here are a few more, for the sake of completeness. Bison, chili with cinnamon rolls, and the “Wizard of Oz.” With that out of the way, it’s worth asking why the […]

Political messaging

Adventures in Kansas campaign lingo: Vote for me! Not that other person!

By: - September 28, 2022

This morning, let’s imagine some homespun Kansas campaign rhetoric. It could be from the governor’s race. It could be from a U.S. House race. It could be from anyone you please. “My dear friends, I urge you to vote for me rather than my opponent! I’m fantastic, but they’re awful. “My opponent won’t confirm their […]

Transgender kids with flag

Without asking for it, transgender kids have been swept up into Kansas political imbroglio

By: - September 26, 2022

Kansas politicians and school districts have contorted themselves in fury recently over simple requests of transgender students. Treat us fairly and inclusively. Call us by our names and treat us with respect. Value our lives. We saw it recently in Gardner Edgerton School District, as a proposed policy covering trans students would have forbidden teachers […]