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.

Signs for and against the state constitutional amendment have become a common sight throughout Kansas this summer. (Tim Carpenter/Kansas Reflector)

Kansans embark on statewide civics experiment of abortion amendment vote, outcome unknown

By: - August 2, 2022

The abortion amendment battle comes to a head this August election day, and if nothing else it proves that civic debate thrives in Kansas. TV ads burble, yard signs protrude and glossy fliers stuff mailboxes from one side of the state to the other. Online forums buzz with the back and forth. Folks chat in […]

As a Kansas abortion amendment is debated, lies about what it does and doesn't do are obscuring commonsense debate on the topic. (Getty Images)

In Kansas abortion amendment debate, three big lies prevent honest exchanges

By: - July 25, 2022

For a group of people presumably interested in the guidance of the Lord Almighty, backers of the “Value Them Both” amendment have a lot of problems with the Ninth Commandment. They’re lying an awful lot. The state constitutional amendment on the ballot Aug. 2 has been debated ad nauseam in recent months. It would preempt […]

Supporters of women's reproductive rights gather outside the U.S. Supreme Court on May 3, 2022, in protest of a leaked draft ruling that shows the court plans to overturn Roe v. Wade. (Jane Norman/States Newsroom)

One simple question Kansas abortion-rights advocates could ask their opponents

By: - July 18, 2022

Should a 10-year-old girl be forced to give birth to her rapist’s baby? If they want to stop a proposed constitutional amendment from passing, Kansas abortion-rights activists should be asking anti-abortion forces that one question each and every day. If they want a message that slices through congealed rhetoric, that’s the one they should deploy ruthlessly […]

Gov. Laura Kelly announces Wednesday in downtown Topeka that Panasonic will build a $4 billion vehicle battery plant in De Soto. The megaproject is expected to employ 4,000 workers with an average wage of $30. (Sherman Smith/Kansas Reflector)

In rare bipartisan achievement, Kansas leaders dream big to land $4B Panasonic megaproject

By: - July 14, 2022

Sometimes, all you need is a dream, a little luck and a billion dollars. Such was the case with the Panasonic battery plant “megaproject” that Kansas leaders announced Wednesday. Lt. Gov. and Commerce secretary Dave Toland, along with Gov. Laura Kelly and assorted legislative leaders — not to mention U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran in Washington, […]


Derek Schmidt campaign tries to have it both ways on Kansas diversity and fundamental rights

By: - July 13, 2022

Derek Schmidt’s campaign talks out of both sides of its mouth when it comes to diversity. When handling questions about fundamental rights, the presumptive Republican gubernatorial candidate’s operation says different things depending on the audience. Should women have a right to access birth control? Should LGBTQ people have a right to, well, exist? It depends! […]

The U.S. Supreme Court decision raised the importance of an already high-stakes vote in the Aug. 2 Kansas primary on a proposed constitutional amendment that will determine if the right to an abortion will remain in the Kansas constitution. (Noah Taborda/Kansas Reflector)

Summer’s discontents weigh on Kansas mood, political races and long-term outlook

By: - July 11, 2022

Now is the summer of our discontent. The end of Roe v. Wade has shaken the nation. Kansas has been gripped by an amendment vote on just that subject scheduled for next month. Political candidates circle one another like irritable peacocks, knowing that weeks or months of squabbling await. Nationally, inflation has stressed households and […]

Sen. Mark Steffen, R-Hutchinson, sent a letter encouraging Reno County commissioners to fire health department officials He spoke last year at the Freedom Revival in the Heartland at City Center Church in Lenexa. (Tim Carpenter/Kansas Reflector)

Kansas senator’s bullying of county health officials is the height of self-regarding delusion

By: - July 7, 2022

Kansas Sen. Mark Steffen acts as though he’s the hero in his own story. In reality, he’s a single state legislator drunk on imagined power. The Hutchinson anesthesiologist’s high-on-his-own-supply tendencies have been apparent for a while now, but his latest posturing deserves special note. He decided to send a letter to the Reno County health […]


From insulin to abortion, Kansas political leaders put profits ahead of people

By: - July 6, 2022

Type 1 diabetes was on my mind this long weekend. A story from States Newsroom’s national bureau explained how U.S. Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire have united for a bill capping insulin costs. Liz Hamor wrote a moving column for the Reflector about a couple facing a kidney and […]

After a week of challenging news, writes Kansas Reflector opinion editor Clay Wirestone, he retains hope for the future of our state and country. (Tim Carpenter/Kansas Reflector)

We’ve endured a week of historic despair. Let’s keep the embers of hope alight in Kansas.

By: - July 2, 2022

After a week of horrible news, I’m here to write about a word that wasn’t used a lot. Hope. I’m writing about hope today despite the U.S. Supreme Court’s egregiously incorrect rulings on abortion and emissions, despite the appalling testimony before the Jan. 6 committee, despite the fears of what rights will be targeted next […]

Kansas Attorney General and gubernatorial candidate Derek Schmidt speaks at the Kansas Supreme Court redistricting hearing in May 2022. (Thad Allton for Kansas Reflector)

With Roe’s end, will Derek Schmidt protect birth control and marriage rights in Kansas? I asked.

By: - June 30, 2022

Derek Schmidt’s gubernatorial campaign wants you to take the U.S. Supreme Court at its word. Despite last week’s bombshell ruling overturning Roe v. Wade, the attorney general’s campaign manager wrote to say we shouldn’t worry about other fundamental rights — birth control or gay marriage, say — being stripped by the activist court. Happy last […]

University of Kansas graduate student Brenan Riffel emailed state Rep. Cheryl Helmer about her sponsorship of anti-trans legislation. The fallout likely reshaped the session. (Lily O'Shea Becker/Kansas Reflector)

Grad student’s moral clarity exposed bigotry in the Kansas Statehouse. There is more to her story.

By: - June 27, 2022

Never underestimate the power of an individual setting out to change minds. That’s proved by the story of Brenan Riffel, a University of Kansas graduate student who confronted state Rep. Cheryl Helmer, R-Mulvane, over a bill targeting transgender people. Helmer’s bigoted response drew national attention at just the moment the Kansas Legislature was attempting to […]


End of Roe v. Wade ushers in a new Dark Age for Kansas and our country

By: - June 24, 2022

Welcome to the new Dark Age. With the U.S. Supreme Court overturning the 49-year-old precedent of Roe v. Wade, Americans and Kansans can no longer depend on our government safeguarding our individual and inalienable rights. We can no longer depend on a commonly agreed upon public policy that respects the rights of women, people of […]