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.

Some states began disenrolling people from Medicaid earlier than others, with health policy researcher KFF finding nearly 500,000 in 11 states have lost their health insurance.

Kansas has dropped 51,000 from Medicaid in a staggering dereliction of duty

By: - July 2, 2023

Kansas lawmakers knew a bad thing was coming. And they didn’t do anything about it. Back in January, the state Medicaid director warned that 120,000 Kansans — roughly 4% of the population — were at risk of losing their health care coverage. The “continuous coverage” requirements imposed during the COVID-19 emergency were coming to an […]


Kris Kobach comes for trans Kansans’ birth certificates. Did legislators want this to happen?

By: - June 26, 2023

Of course it would come in the dark of night. Kansas Attorney General Kris Kobach’s move to strip trans Kansans of the right to change their gender markers came late Friday, a notorious dumping ground for unpleasant news. Because here’s the problem with passing laws targeting LGBTQ people under the false pretense of protecting women: […]

The Kansas Statehouse dome on April 4, 2023

Political violence and terroristic threats have no place in Kansas. They shut down open debate.

By: - June 21, 2023

We don’t know much about the roughly 100 letters containing white powder sent to Kansas legislators and officials last week. We know they went to Republicans and featured fake return addresses. We know the powder appears not to be dangerous, according to the Kansas Bureau of Investigation. But we’re waiting to learn who sent the […]

This mailing from DraftKings, which is arriving at Kansas mailboxes this week, is one sign of the marketing blitzes on the way with the Sept. 1 start of sports gambling in Kansas. (Eric Thomas)

Sports gaming companies have stiffed Kansas — entirely legally. Maybe lawmakers aren’t brainiacs.

By: - June 19, 2023

Folks who imagine dark conspiracies in Kansas politics — meetings behind closed doors devising sinister plans — should consider the possibility that legislators are just bad at their jobs. For evidence, read the blockbuster story by Marco Schaden, published last week on the Wichita and Kansas City Beacon websites. The headline alone will make your […]

Rainbow flag creator Gilbert Baker poses Jan. 7, 2016, at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City

Sen. Roger Marshall insults a fellow Kansan in his bewildering attack on pride flag

By: - June 14, 2023

You might be forgiven for thinking U.S. Sen. Roger Marshall’s outrage about a pride flag at the White House was your usual bit of performative right-wing nuttery. Perhaps Marshall himself sees it that way. But in tweeting misinformation about that rainbow flag, Marshall proves his ignorance of his own state’s history — and insults a […]

Marchers in the Lawrence pride parade hold signs reading "No SB 180 in LKS" and "We are fed up with your silence."

In these four Kansas towns, Pride Month means more than just parades and rainbows

By: - June 12, 2023

True confessions time, gang: I didn’t care for Pride Month as a young gay man. Rainbow iconography left me cold. I didn’t much enjoy parades. Drag queens could put on a good show, but I would rather read a book. Making change, I told myself and others, would come from political organizing and activism rather […]


Kansas Republicans want to replicate this news outlet’s success. Please, go right ahead.

By: - June 7, 2023

Kansas Republicans have been saying they want a Kansas Reflector of their very own. Be it online, in print, or broadcast via radio and television, they want a news source that makes their case to the people of our state. “We need to develop our own sources,” said state Sen. Mark Steffen, R-Hutchinson, in audio […]

One of four allegorical murals toward the top of the Statehouse keeps watch on lawmakers and the public. Knowledge is the woman in the center with Temperance on the left and Religion on the right

Kansas Reflector’s church and state series made waves. Here’s a guide to commentary it inspired.

By: - June 5, 2023

When editor Sherman Smith and reporter Rachel Mipro set out to report and write the church and state series for Kansas Reflector, each had different thoughts about how their stories might land. Mipro, who started work for us in September, told us in this week’s podcast that she imagined a strong response from readers. Smith, […]


Kansas City mayor blunders in advising against engagement with ‘bonkers attacks’

By: - May 30, 2023

I don’t look to start beefs for the sake of starting beefs, but Kansas City, Missouri, Mayor Quinton Lucas wrote a couple of tweets the other week that bothered me. “In recent days, you may have noticed that certain statewide candidates have started posting bonkers attacks on large swaths of Missourians — typically Black people, […]


Byzantine checkout process at retail, restaurants, drives this Kansas columnist to distraction

By: - May 29, 2023

I went to a big box on Saturday to buy three items: a USB flash drive, a bottle of Sprite and a bag of Twin Snakes gummies. Finding the items took mere seconds. Completing the purchase, on the other hand, took what felt like ages. Civilizations rose and fell in the time it took to […]

Adam Peters testifies via video on Feb. 1, 2023, before a legislative committee.

Revelations of religious zealotry infiltrating Kansas politics raise alarms near and far

By: - May 24, 2023

Kansas Reflector’s comprehensive series on religion in public life keeps making waves. Throughout the past couple of weeks, we’ve seen multiple news outlets pick up our reporting for their audiences. Politicians have taken note. Those at the center of the story have pushed back. In all cases, readers can see why compelling, fact-based journalism makes […]


Religious bullies in Kansas politics fantasize about being victims of the left. Don’t fall for it.

By: - May 22, 2023

The epic church and state series published last week by Kansas Reflector shocked and surprised me. Sure, I understood the radical agenda and anti-democratic goals of religious extremists in my beloved state. But I hadn’t appreciated the way a group of fervent bullies — folks wanting to drive people with different beliefs out of the […]