Author

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, cnn.com 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.

OPINION

A mystery company wants to invest in Kansas. Thank goodness legislators make us look alluring.

By: - January 26, 2022

Hello, mystery megaproject company! I hear you’ve picked Kansas as one of two finalists for a $4 billion production plant that could generate 8,000 jobs and $2.5 billion annually. Who might you be? Amazon? Airbus? Google? GameStop? Whatever the case, we’re all excited around here. You’ll be glad to know that Kansas legislators have been […]

OPINION

Workers wield newfound power in world shaped by COVID-19. Kansas leaders must adapt, and quickly.

By: - January 25, 2022

Businesses wouldn’t exist without workers. That’s been easy to forget in recent decades, as corporations flexed their muscle, organized labor endured setbacks, and CEOs grew ever richer. Within a year, however, the COVID-19 pandemic metamorphosed the employment landscape in Kansas and across the country. Workers are waking up amid widespread skill and staffing shortages. They […]

OPINION

Like Quantrill’s violent raiders, GOP legislators in Kansas aim to stifle Lawrence progressives

By: - January 20, 2022

Republicans in the Kansas Legislature are on the brink of accomplishing what pro-slavery forces in 1863 couldn’t quite manage: Silencing the progressives of Lawrence. Back then, William Quantrill and his raiders set much of the town ablaze and massacred more than 100. Lawrence was a free state stronghold, fiercely opposed to slavery, and its residents […]

OPINION

5 things you can do if you’re overwhelmed by Kansas COVID-19 news

By: - January 19, 2022

The latest COVID-19 wave has swept through Kansas, bringing not only illness but a feeling of beleaguered powerlessness. The last two years have left those of us who take the pandemic seriously exhausted and frustrated. The situation shouldn’t be this challenging, not with the vaccines and treatments we have available. We shouldn’t be battling science-denying […]

OPINION

This anesthesiologist and state senator spins COVID-19 fairy tales as virus slams Kansas

By: - January 18, 2022

Hey, Kansas Board of Healing Arts — you might want to check in with Dr. Mark Steffen, the state senator from Hutchinson and noted purveyor of COVID-19 lies. My predecessor in this opinion editor chair, the incomparable C.J. Janovy, wrote you a letter back in March about Steffen. Unfortunately, it must have gotten lost in […]

OPINION

Do Kansas legislators understand that we’re all in the middle of a pandemic?

By: - January 18, 2022

Does the Kansas Legislature know there’s a pandemic going on? Do Kansas senators and representatives understand that we’re all enduring a once-in-a-century event, one in which millions of people are falling ill and being hospitalized, with thousands dying each day? I ask because last week’s session launch demonstrated that state legislators aren’t just pursuing policies […]

OPINION

In banishing reporters, Kansas Senate joins destructive GOP trend

By: - January 14, 2022

Kansas Senate leadership’s decision to bar reporters from the floor during debate should trouble everyone who values a free and fair press in the Sunflower State. Unfortunately, the ramifications spread further and should trouble concerned citizens across the country. To put it bluntly, this move appears to be part of a multistate effort on behalf […]

OPINION

To track Kansas Statehouse accurately, distinguish shiny objects from vital basics

By: - January 12, 2022

News from the Kansas Statehouse operates on a couple of levels. On one, you have headline-grabbing hearings about critical race theory and vaccine mandates. On the other, you have the nuts-and-bolts work of allocating tax dollars, funding schools and highways, and overseeing social service programs. Those who follow current events should learn to make the […]

OPINION

Kelly delivers dazzling show of bipartisanship — however unlikely — at State of the State

By: - January 12, 2022

If Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly was an aging pop diva, last night’s annual State of the State address would have been a spirited greatest hits show, packed with favorites such as balancing the budget, supporting education and economic development. She previewed a new effort, repealing the sales tax on food, and dipped into her back […]

OPINION

Don’t look up: Kansas conservatives ready destructive asteroid of proposals that threaten us all

By: - January 11, 2022

What’s the difference between a Kansas-sized asteroid barreling toward our state and the latest conservative proposals for our new legislative session? The asteroid won’t insist it’s being helpful. The space rock has other benefits, too. It will definitely lower taxes, as Republicans say they want, by obliterating all taxpayers and services. It will reduce the […]

OPINION

This Kansas official says he’s securing elections. He might as well be defending us from hippos.

By: - January 6, 2022

Imagine Kansas Secretary of State Scott Schwab made a big announcement last month: Kansas is one of the Top 10 most secure states from hippopotamus attacks. We know for a fact that hippos are dangerous, Schwab writes in an imaginary campaign fundraising email, because they kill 500 people across Africa each year. They’re the most […]

OPINION

Trump likes what he sees in Hungary’s anti-democratic prime minister — and Derek Schmidt

By: - January 5, 2022

When you play footsie with fascism, sometimes the fascist flirts back. On Monday, would-be autocrat Donald Trump did Derek Schmidt a solid, endorsing the Kansas attorney general’s run for governor. Schmidt spent much of 2020 doing whatever he could to cater to Trump’s cult of personality, joining a lawsuit to overturn the presidential election and […]