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.

Gov. Laura Kelly and Attorney General Derek Schmidt, candidates for governor in November, have offered statements affirming racial bias existed in the state's law enforcement system. (Sherman Smith/Kansas Reflector)

At Kansas State Fair debate, Kelly and Schmidt explore different realities

By: - September 10, 2022

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly and her challenger, Attorney General Derek Schmidt, showed up for two different debates Saturday morning at the Kansas State Fair. The 90-minute exchange was an opportunity for Kelly to lean into her four-year record as governor. A longtime state legislator, she dug into the opportunity to explain her accomplishments and deep […]

Protestors in support of former President Donald Trump gather May 1, 2021, outside Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix where Ballots from the 2020 general election wait to be counted. (Courtney Pedroza/Getty Images)

Campaign season begins, while truth itself hangs in the balance for Kansas and country

By: - September 7, 2022

With Labor Day past and full-blown political campaign season upon us, politicians have turned stretching the truth into a national pastime.  Heated claims of “fascist” and “radical” fly through the air like so many poorly aimed hand grenades. Social media outlets teem with scalding hot commentary, most of it only tangentially related to the real […]

Republican gubernatorial candidate Derek Schmidt joined former University of Kentucky swimmer Riley Gains in Overland Park to push for approval by the Kansas Legislature of a state law requiring public educational institutions to allow participation in sports programs based on the biological sex of the athlete at birth. (Tim Carpenter/Kansas Reflector)

Derek Schmidt: Are you willing to trade the lives of Kansas trans kids for the governor’s office?

By: - September 2, 2022

Derek Schmidt has taken a dangerous step in his campaign for governor. The attorney general, lagging in the contest against incumbent Democrat Laura Kelly, has decided to target transgender children. Thursday morning, he appeared at a news conference calling for a meanspirited, discriminatory ban on trans kids participating in girls’ sports. He has decided, apparently, […]


Two more Kansas constitutional amendment votes loom. Here’s what they do, and what they mean.

By: - August 31, 2022

Kansans might think they’re done with state constitutional amendments. Unfortunately, the state constitutional amendments aren’t done with them. Fresh on the heels of the Aug. 2 anti-abortion amendment ballot question, two more revisions to our state’s charter will be up for a vote on Nov. 8. One aims at the executive power wielded over the […]


Derek Schmidt claims to be running for Kansas governor. He’s not very chatty about it.

By: - August 29, 2022

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt is running for governor. At least I think he is. One might be forgiven for wondering, given that he doesn’t appear to have given a news conference since announcing his running mate. That was nearly three months ago. Since then, we’ve seen wild shifts in the political landscape — the […]

State Sen. Dennis Pyle turned in nearly 9,000 signatures from Kansas voters to support his independent campaign for governor on Aug. 1. The paperwork is still being processed. (Sherman Smith/Kansas Reflector)

Kansas election results reaffirmed, while independent governor candidate waits impatiently

By: - August 24, 2022

Kansas elections have been proven accurate once again. Recounts of the state’s anti-abortion amendment vote, as well as the treasurer’s race, reaffirmed the original results. Yes, the margins changed ever so slightly, as they often do in such cases, but the overall outcomes stood. That’s a win for Secretary of State Scott Schwab and his […]

The well called Norman No. 1 was drilled on Nov. 28, 1892, in Neodesha and opened an new era of oil exploration. The site was reconstructed in 1961 and later moved closer to Main Street. (Clay Wirestone/Kansas Reflector)

Once a Kansas petroleum powerhouse, Neodesha now drills down on education and investments

By: - August 22, 2022

When I was a child, Neodesha was the big city. My family and I lived in nearby, even smaller Altoona. The city of Neodesha — population 2,275 — boasted a grocery store, library and a red caboose behind that library. This month, I drove back to Neodesha with my 11-year-old, on a mission to look […]


A year ago, I started a journey as Kansas Reflector opinion editor. Here’s what I’ve learned.

By: - August 18, 2022

A year ago Tuesday, I came aboard the good ship Kansas Reflector as opinion editor. While my first column on the job promised big goals and lofty aspirations, I’ll admit that doubts lingered in the cobwebbed recesses of my mind. Would the work make a difference? Would readers pay attention? Would they and I find […]

Shawnee County election workers tabulate provisional ballots that the county's board of canvassers approved during a meeting Monday morning in Topeka. (Thad Allton for Kansas Reflector)

In wake of amendment loss, anti-abortion Kansans face a choice: Take the L or fight the power

By: - August 16, 2022

Losing hurts the soul. It throws our basic beliefs — in oneself, in the notion of a just world — into turmoil. Ultimately, we choose to do one of two things. We can look at the loss dispassionately, hoping to learn from the experience. Or we can decide that the loss wasn’t, actually, a loss […]

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, embraced Kansas Senate Minority Leader Dinah Sykes at an Aug. 2 primary election watch party in Overland Park. Davids won reelection to a third term Tuesday by defeating Republican Amanda Adkins. (Lily O'Shea Becker for the Kansas Reflector)

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 […]