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. Clay spent 2017 to 2021 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
Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt answers questions

Feeble clergy sex abuse report exposes Schmidt’s sins. He betrayed his office and Kansas kids.

By: - January 8, 2023

Now we know the true legacy of outgoing Attorney General Derek Schmidt: allowing likely sexual abusers of children to walk free. According to a summary from the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, more than 400 children in our state were sexually abused by Catholic clergy since 1950. While the KBI looked into nearly 200 clergy and […]

OPINION
The Kansas Department of Revenue said state tax collections of $704 million in October exceeded expectations by 11% or $73 million. It was the 27th consecutive month state tax revenue surpassed the forecast. (Getty Images)

With $2 billion surplus on books, Kansas politicians drool over tax cuts. They should think twice.

By: - January 4, 2023

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly and the Legislature both want to make a big mistake. The only question is whose will cost more. The state has $2 billion in the bank, thanks to robust tax collections. That means both the Democratic governor and Republican legislative leaders have decided that Kansans need tax cuts. The governor, to […]

OPINION
Dawn Rattan, right, cries and applauds Aug. 2, 2022, at the Kansans for Constitutional Freedom watch party after learning Kansans had defeated a constitutional amendment to remove abortion rights. (Lily O'Shea Becker/Kansas Reflector)

In 2022, Kansas Reflector staffers covered shocking upsets and indispensable public policy

By: - January 2, 2023

I’m pretty sure that 2022 took the usual 365 days. Yet it felt like several callithumpian years packed into one. We started by fighting a monstrous COVID-19 hangover, with the omicron variant tearing through Kansas and the Statehouse. We endured a nasty legislative session, along with redistricting and a subsequent court battle. But that was […]

OPINION

These 10 Kansas Reflector columns dazzled the most readers in 2022. Did your favorite make it?

By: - December 29, 2022

Every morning of 2022, Kansas Reflector published an opinion column. Some of these pieces resonated with thousands upon thousands of readers. Others, um, didn’t. But as we wrap up the year with twine and prepare to store it in the basement along with the rest of recorded history, let’s seize the moment to look back. […]

OPINION
A Christmas tree with red and green ornaments.

This Christmas Day, let’s spread gentleness in an ever-more-aggressive world

By: - December 25, 2022

Some 20 years ago, I was talking to my friend Nathan about God. As one does. I told him that while it was difficult for me to imagine a literal lord and savior, like the grey-bearded one painted by Michelangelo, I liked believing in something. Some kind of being, some sort of force, some sort […]

OPINION
A snow plow clears a road.

As ‘bomb cyclone’ sends Kansas into deep freeze, let’s answer some reader questions

By: - December 22, 2022

I hear from Kansas Reflector readers nearly every day. These readers ask why I write the columns I do, why I run the columns I do, and why I think the way I do. Sometimes they praise the pieces, other times they criticize them. On occasion, they appear to come from another dimension entirely. Hopefully, […]

OPINION
Elon Musk unveils a test tunnel in California.

This social media billionaire and Kansas leaders share contempt for the slightest criticism

By: - December 19, 2022

Let’s all imagine that in a parallel universe to our own, a peculiar billionaire named Melon Husk bought a social media site called Dither. This social media site had seen better days, but it enjoyed outsized influence in the world of politics, technology and news media. Melon Husk reckoned he knew about all three, and […]

OPINION
Books on shelf in library

Libraries serve communities, not aggrieved parents. Challenged books have much to teach Kansans.

By: - December 12, 2022

Libraries hold a conflicted place our collective imagination. To many of us — to me personally — they’re magical. We were first exposed to worlds of imagination and ideas on the shelves of our local libraries. To others, these buildings serve as indispensable community gathering spots, places to learn and meet and share. But to […]

OPINION
Businessman has trouble with a computer.

This artificial intelligence program will surprise you. But can it write about Kansas politics?

By: - December 8, 2022

As someone who writes opinion columns but enjoys taking days off now and then, I was excited to learn about ChatGPT. This artificial intelligence program generates tailor-made text in seconds and has already gained mountains of coverage in the global news media. Give the “chatbot” nearly any prompt and it conjures coherent responses: essays, poems, […]

OPINION

Kansas’ Dan Hawkins and Trump prove that political normalcy remains a distant dream

By: - December 6, 2022

After a midterm election that many in Kansas and the country hoped was a return to normalcy, we’re faced with a deeply disconcerting fact. We don’t live in normal times. In Topeka, we saw the worst of bare-knuckle partisanship on Monday. Incoming House Speaker Dan Hawkins, a Wichita Republican, threatened Democrats’ committee posts if they […]

OPINION
constitutionality of the 2022 Legislature's maps recasting district boundaries for congressional and legislative seats. (Thad Allton for Kansas Reflector)

Kansas Supreme Court justice resigns as teacher after KU protests antigay speaker. Bless his heart.

By: - December 2, 2022

Kansas Supreme Court Justice Caleb Stegall had his feelings hurt. Students and administrators at the University of Kansas questioned whether the campus Federalist Society should have invited an anti-LGBTQ speaker. Despite protests, the talk from Jordan Lorence of the Alliance Defending Freedom went forward as planned. Stegall outlined the situation and his claims in a […]

OPINION

With same-sex marriage vote, U.S. Senate values families. Including mine, here in Kansas.

By: - November 30, 2022

The U.S. Senate took a momentous step Tuesday, passing a same-sex marriage law that offers a vital backstop for LGBTQ folks in Kansas and the nation. While the Respect for Marriage Act falls short in some ways, it shows how far we’ve come over the past few decades. In 1996, after all, President Bill Clinton […]