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.

Gov. Laura Kelly gives her second inaugural address at the Kansas Statehouse

Kansas governor cooked renegade representative’s goose. Like it or not, that’s how politics work.

By: - May 17, 2023

Gov. Laura Kelly, by all appearances, dished out a chilly bowl of revenge to Kansas City Rep. Marvin Robinson on Monday. Robinson, in case you stayed sane and didn’t follow the Kansas legislative session this year, abandoned his Democratic colleagues to vote for a host of hard-right Republican priorities, such as banning transgender girls and […]

Kansas Attorney General Kris Kobach appears April 12, 2023, at the Kansas Reflector office in downtown Topeka for a podcast recording

Good journalism means talking to public figures. That includes Trump and Kansas AG Kris Kobach.

By: - May 15, 2023

Political commentators have been outraged by CNN’s decision to broadcast a town hall with former President Donald Trump. They objected to Trump’s repeated lies, the studio audience’s lively support of the candidate, and shaky fact-check attempts from moderator Kaitlan Collins. “This is an abnormal candidate who must not be normalized on national television in some […]

The Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve in Kansas

In a post-session funk, your Kansas Reflector opinion editor looks outward for answers

By: - May 10, 2023

I have a confession to make to you all. The Kansas Legislature wrapped up work on April 28, and I’ve been a bit adrift since. Sure, I had anthology columns to write and think pieces to generate. But as I wandered Tuesday afternoon under an overcast sky in Lawrence, the emptiness of life without the […]

Close-up of bartender serving beers at bar

Budweiser? Pfft. Dominion? Eh. Kansas should look beyond corporations to put people first.

By: - May 8, 2023

Between conservatives’ outrage after Budweiser partnered with a transgender influencer, liberals’ indignation after Dominion voting systems settled with Fox News, and Kansas legislators trying desperately to hand out tax breaks to big business, I have to wonder — since when have we given corporations so much power over how we feel and act? The success […]


Kansas Reflector serves this state’s people. No one else.

By: - May 3, 2023

As Kansas Reflector staff traveled across the Sunflower State this year, one set of audience questions stuck with me. We appreciate Kansas Reflector and its coverage, audience members said. But can you keep doing this? Do you have readers? Are you successful enough to keep going? I appreciate both the compliments and the concern. The […]


What made this year’s Kansas legislative session so excruciating? Here are eight explanations.

By: - May 1, 2023

Kansas legislators wrapped up business Friday, extruding a noxious school funding bill and budget before heading home to annoy their constituents. This leaves those of us who follow goings-on at the Statehouse with a vexing question: Why was the 2023 legislative session so terrible? Follow-up queries crowd close behind. What compelled senators and representatives to […]

Gov. Laura Kelly appears with school children

Statehouse scraps: Veto overrides that fizzled, shameful anti-trans bill, Kansas governor persists

By: - April 29, 2023

You’ll hear no argument from me, friends. This veto session of the Kansas Legislature was a rough one. I try to keep an optimistic tone in my columns and life, but such optimism was a challenge to summon at points this week. Lawmakers dived headfirst into odious transphobia, disdain for the poor and attempts to […]

Colorful smoke and flame from a burning match against a black background

GOP leaders in Kansas and U.S. don’t negotiate in good faith. They threaten arson instead.

By: - April 26, 2023

In Washington, D.C., House Republicans have decided to hold the economy hostage in their battle with President Joe Biden over the nation’s debt limit. In Michigan, as reported by the Washington Post, a county government was taken over by MAGA enthusiasts who showed far more enthusiasm for changing their motto than governing. Right here in […]

A journalist's tools of the trade

A singular New Hampshire editor inspired this Kansas journalist — and so many others, too

By: - April 22, 2023

Mike Pride changed my life. The legendary editor of New Hampshire’s Concord Monitor newspaper, Mike hired me back in 2005, at a particularly challenging time in my career. I had spent an unfulfilling few years as a copy editor at big newspapers in central Florida and wanted to return to a smaller newsroom, one where […]


Entire Kansas Reflector staff recognized in annual press association awards

By: - April 19, 2023

This year’s Kansas Press Association awards carried a special distinction for Kansas Reflector staff, although you might have to read through the list of placements a couple of times to notice it. Every member of our staff won something. Every one. Several more folks who are regular contributors won too. As someone who came to […]


New Amelia Earhart museum gleams with the energy, innovation and bravery of its Kansas-born subject

By: - April 13, 2023

The sparkling new Amelia Earhart Hangar Museum at Atchison’s airport doesn’t just pay tribute to its namesake’s life and career. It represents a sequence of events so unlikely and fortuitous that you couldn’t have invented them. From the sole surviving Lockheed Electra 10-E plane — the same kind that went missing in Earhart’s attempt to […]


Statehouse scraps: Kansas session shuts down for spring break with ridiculous all-night marathon

By: - April 10, 2023

Happy Monday to you all, and happy end to the regular session of the Kansas Legislature. Oh, members will be back, and sooner than you might expect. The so-called veto session begins April 26, and the usual crew of legislators, lobbyists and journalists will once again flood into Topeka. Nevertheless, let’s all relish the two […]