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.


Abortion rights are in peril in Kansas and the U.S. Shock and outrage won’t change that.

By: - May 11, 2022

Sometimes, advocates should look to their opponents for inspiration. The leaked U.S. Supreme Court opinion overturning Roe v. Wade offers such an opportunity for pro-choice activists in Kansas and the United States. Emotions have run high as the land’s highest court appears ready to punt abortion rights back to the states. But emotions don’t suffice […]


Kansas Legislature wraps up veto session, and it surprisingly wasn’t a total Dumpster fire

By: - May 3, 2022

It could have been worse. That’s not the kind of statement that inspires excitement and applause, or rouses one’s fellow Kansans to ecstasies of celebration. It’s still an accurate summary of the 2022 Legislature, which saw its veto session careen to a close early Friday. At various points, chamber leaders or arch-conservative legislators proposed a […]

Friday's tornado in Andover reminds us that the chance of bad things happening must be accepted as an inevitable part of existence, writes opinion editor Clay Wirestone. The good news? We don’t have to do this alone. (Submitted by Gov. Laura Kelly's office)

In wake of latest Andover tornado, a newfound appreciation of risk in Kansas and beyond

By: - May 2, 2022

Few events shaped my childhood like the one-two punch of the Hesston tornado in 1990 and the Andover tornado in 1991. My family lived only 18 miles away from Andover, and the notion that a storm could descend from nowhere and wreak destruction terrified me. Those memories flooded back Friday night, when another powerful tornado […]


Kansas representative’s hateful email unmasks the anti-trans bias poisoning legislation

By: - April 28, 2022

Rep. Cheryl Helmer gave the game away Monday. As the Kansas Legislature wrangled over Gov. Laura Kelly’s veto of an anti-trans sports bill, the Reflector revealed Helmer’s hateful email to a University of Kansas graduate student. All at once, any pretensions that supporters had about the legislation “protecting girls” were thrown out the window. The […]


In food tax vote, GOP puts hatred of Gov. Laura Kelly ahead of caring for Kansans

By: - April 27, 2022

Republicans in the Kansas House of Representatives hate Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly more than they want to help their constituents. That’s the only conclusion after Tuesday’s morally degraded vote, when the House voted 48-74 against bringing a full food tax repeal bill to the floor. The GOP has claimed for years that it supports cutting […]


A New Big Lie targets Kansas teachers and all public education: Don’t let it go unquestioned

By: - April 26, 2022

Beware the New Big Lie. For the past 18 months, those committed to truth have battled the Big Lie spread by former President Donald Trump that he actually won the 2020 election. But during that time, a New Big Lie has bloomed, one that threatens to undermine our country further. That lie, no less audacious […]


Kansas Reflector, editor Sherman Smith and staff honored in annual press association awards

By: - April 22, 2022

Every day for the past eight months, I’ve delighted in working for the Kansas Reflector. Being part of this nonprofit journalism effort, bringing high-quality news and opinion to the state I love, has been a source of joy — even when the news takes less-than-joyful swerves. The news this morning was particularly good, however. The […]


Errors in asset forfeiture reporting by Kansas police obscure facts, undermine transparency

By: - April 20, 2022

Civil asset forfeiture boggles the mind. How can law enforcement organizations seize property without charging anyone and then just keep the proceeds? Money, vehicles and other potential evidence can just be whisked away. That sounds like a problem, and it was heartening that the Kansas Legislature took steps to address it back in 2018. The […]


My grim prediction for Kansas: Abortion banned within a year if voters don’t show up

By: - April 18, 2022

Within the next year, the Kansas Legislature will pass a full ban on abortion, without exceptions for rape or incest. Gov. Derek Schmidt will delightedly sign it and rhapsodize about our state’s culture of life. A safe and common women’s health procedure and those performing it, along with the women themselves, will be criminalized. This […]

Visitors to the Kansas Statehouse could be glimpsed at the bottom of the rotunda on the last regular session day of the Legislature. (Clay Wirestone/Kansas Reflector)

Kansas politics boil, bubble and scald as Legislature basks through break

By: - April 16, 2022

Kansas Reflector readers might imagine the break between regular and veto sessions of the Legislature as a beautiful and carefree time for journalists, full of family excursions and yoga classes. Surely we cleanse our minds with hikes and rock climbing, browsing classic literature while drinking herbal tea. Fat chance. News from the Statehouse has scarcely […]

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly has signed an anti-sanctuary city bill. That’s a kick in the teeth to progressives, writes opinion editor Clay Wirestone. (Jan. 27, 2022, photo by Sherman Smith/Kansas Reflector)

Kelly signs anti-sanctuary city bill, and Kansas progressives face a moment of truth

By: - April 13, 2022

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly kicked progressive advocates in the teeth by signing a rightwing political stunt masquerading as legislation on Monday. The law supposedly bans “sanctuary cities” in the state. What it really does is target undocumented Kansans and those who worked patiently to pass an ordinance protecting them in Wyandotte County. The bill was […]

Kansas Sen. Mark Steffen, R-Hutchinson, attends a hearing on Feb. 21, 2022, at the Statehouse in Topeka. (Sherman Smith/Kansas Reflector)

Mark Steffen’s grotesque buffoonery has put Kansans in danger as new COVID-19 wave approaches

By: - April 8, 2022

Dear Kansas Board of Healing Arts: The time has arrived. Come get your boy. That’s right, Kansas Sen. Mark Steffen, R-Hutchinson, has managed to shimmy under the already incredibly low bar he previously set. He’s taken his campaign against effective treatment for COVID-19  to his fellow health care providers, all but threatening them in your […]