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.


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 […]

A KU fan celebrates on Massachusetts Street after the Jayhawks defeated the Tar Heels 72-69 on Monday in the NCAA National Championship. The Jayhawks claimed their fourth national championship title. (Lily O'Shea Becker for Kansas Reflector)

As Kansas basketball wins national title, downtown crowd revels in breathtaking comeback

By: - April 5, 2022

The joy that erupted from Massachusetts Street in Lawrence late Monday, the raucous cheering and boisterous good spirits, was the sound of something finally going right. Yes, the University of Kansas men’s basketball team won the NCAA tournament, defeating North Carolina in a breathtaking 72-69 game. The mood downtown was electric, as a teeming mass […]

The dome of the Kansas Statehouse soars above those working in the building. (Clay Wirestone/Kansas Reflector)

Who asked for this disastrous Statehouse session? Certainly not Kansas voters.

By: - April 4, 2022

This was the Kansas Legislature session that no one wanted. Time and again, leaders in the House and Senate forced hearings and votes on measures with little — or zero — public support. Time and again, those same leaders prevented hearings and votes on policies supported by vast majorities of their constituents. Advocates have complained […]


Amid the beauty of the Kansas Statehouse, a furious session crashes toward its scheduled close

By: - April 1, 2022

Welcome to the last regularly scheduled session day of the Kansas Legislature, where lawmakers are working twice as fast and thinking half as much. Just about anything can happen as lawmakers crash into the final day, up to and including an explosive rumor that members were being subpoenaed by the Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission. GOP […]


On a day celebrating transgender visibility, Kansans offer the best and worst in response

By: - March 31, 2022

Happy National Transgender Day of Visibility, to all trans Kansans. I’m delighted you’re here, and your tenacious courage inspires me. Also, I’d like to apologize for a handful of other Kansans who have decided to score political points on your lives. This 2022 celebration comes with two giant asterisks. First, of course, the Legislature has […]


Late-night legislating makes an unwelcome return to the Statehouse, leaving Kansans worse off

By: - March 31, 2022

You just had to look at the timestamps on stories from the Legislature last week to see something was amiss. One posted at 1:34 a.m. Another went up at 3:54 a.m. Welcome back to the Kansas Legislature after dark. I don’t want to imply that those times align exactly with when legislators wrapped up their […]


A spontaneous crowd in Lawrence celebrates Kansas basketball. The good vibes lift my soul.

By: - March 29, 2022

I was at the barbershop with my son when I heard that the KU men’s basketball team was headed to the Final Four. You may have deduced from the previous sentence that I’m not a sports devotee. But I’m also a graduate of the University of Kansas and live in Lawrence, two facts that inescapably […]


Election fraud conspiracies in Kansas Legislature threaten to demoralize voters, harm Republicans

By: - March 23, 2022

Let’s step back from objective truth and reality for a moment to state the obvious: Claiming that Republicans nationwide are victims of pernicious voter fraud is pretty effective politically. It allows the party to motivate its voters through grievance, it casts suspicion on hardworking elections officials whose jobs are understood by few, and it allows […]


Anti-trans Kansas legislators use children as kindling for their culture war blaze

By: - March 22, 2022

As I watched Kansas senators debate Senate Bill 484 on Monday, a sinking feeling grew in my gut. This is what it feels like, I remembered, to have your identity politicized. This is what it’s like to have politicians use your life as kindling for a culture war fire. The bill at question, which later […]