Author

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, cnn.com 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.

OPINION

Permanent daylight saving time sounds great for Kansas and U.S., but careful what you wish for

By: - March 21, 2022

Bipartisan hope springs eternal in the breast of a red state opinion editor. That’s why I was delighted to see last week that the U.S. Senate voted unanimously to stop changing our clocks back and forth twice a year, by making daylight saving time permanent. The only downside was the vote happened while I took […]

OPINION

This dumb bill doesn’t just target poor and hungry Kansans. It asks taxpayers to foot the cost.

By: - March 14, 2022

The Kansas Legislature and its committees take up tons of bad bills every year. Some of them make sense but would have destructive consequences (everyone likes tax cuts, for instance, but if you cut them too much, government won’t function). Some of them are motivated by outdated moral or religious codes (hello pot prohibition and […]

OPINION
Former Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, U.S. ambassador at large for international religious freedom, departs the post Wednesday following the re-election defeat of President Donald Trump to Democrat Joe Biden. (Screenshot of U.S. State Department briefing/Kansas Reglector)

The ghost of Sam Brownback haunts Kansas politics, but memories fade quickly

By: - March 11, 2022

Do you remember Sam Brownback? Ordinary looking guy, happened to serve as Kansas governor for a couple of terms. He resigned in 2018 to become the Trump administration’s ambassador for religious freedom. He was also, for a handful of years, the great bogeyman of Kansas politics. His tax-cutting “experiment” led to unprecedented backlash, and his […]

OPINION

Anti-trans sports bill sprouts from ignorance. We owe Kansas kids respect and support.

By: - March 9, 2022

The world is a big, complicated and majestic place. There’s a lot we don’t understand. But just because we don’t understand every single bit of the world, that doesn’t mean we should hate the parts we don’t. That doesn’t mean we pass laws against them. Likewise, the fact that some legislators don’t understand or accept […]

OPINION

This presentation ended one chapter and began another for the Kansas tax system

By: - March 8, 2022

On Monday, the House Taxation Committee held a hearing that served as an epilogue to 10 years’ worth of drama in Kansas. Donna Ginther, director of the Institute for Policy and Social Research at the University of Kansas, presented the findings of the Governor’s Council on Tax Reform. Led by former GOP Senate President Steve […]

OPINION
The Kansas Statehouse inner dome soars overhead, while the Kansas unemployment rate continues to fall. The February rate of 2.5% was lowest in a decade. (Sherman Smith/Kansas Reflector)

This week at the Kansas Legislature: transphobia, medical pot and anti-vaxxers, oh my!

By: - March 6, 2022

With the Kansas Legislature returning to Topeka last week, the time has come for full-on partisan pie fights. That’s right, senators and representatives have rolled up their sleeves for dubious bills galore, along with the parliamentary sleight of hand needed to squeak them through both chambers. Looking at schedules and listening to chatter in Statehouse […]

OPINION

Believe it or not, sanity has broken out among these three Kansas Republicans

By: - March 3, 2022

For those who look at Kansas politics and despair, I’m here with good news. We’re seeing distinct signs of sanity on the conservative side of the aisle, and not a bit too late. Within the past couple of weeks, we’ve seen three high-profile Republicans buck the trends and speak up for the truth. They have […]

OPINION

With the Legislature back in session, here are five big issues for Kansans to follow

By: - March 1, 2022

The Kansas Legislature has returned! You’d be forgiven for not knowing it was gone in the first place, but the House and Senate took most of a week off after turnaround. That’s the (largely hypothetical) date when each chamber finishes work on its bills and sends the legislation to the other chamber. In reality, leaders […]

OPINION

Kansas education commissioner’s offensive joke followed animated, rambling remarks

By: - February 25, 2022

Randy Watson is taking a timeout. The Kansas education commissioner, on the job since 2014, has been suspended for 30 days after making an ill-conceived joke about American Indians during the Kansas Virtual Learning Conference in mid-February. But what struck me most watching the video of Watson wasn’t the joke — it was his peculiar […]

OPINION

Derek Schmidt salutes Black history while seeking to stifle Black Kansas voters

By: - February 24, 2022

Derek Schmidt wants you to share in his excitement for Black History Month. Why, on Sunday he tweeted the following: “Nicodemus is the oldest and only remaining settlement of freed slaves west of the Mississippi. Now a National Historic Site in Graham County, it is well worth visiting during Black History Month – or any […]

OPINION
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke to reporters during a COVID-19 briefing in April 2020 at the White House with President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence to his left. Pompeo is a potential candidate for president in 2024. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

Former Kansas congressman Pompeo quick to heap praise on Russia’s ruthless Putin

By: - February 23, 2022

Watching Russian leader Vladimir Putin over the past few years, many words come to mind. Strongman. Ruthless. Megalomaniacal. If you’re former secretary of state and Kansas congressman Mike Pompeo, though, those words are “talented,” “savvy,” and “capable statesman.” With Russia in the process of invading Ukraine — a sovereign nation with an elected president — […]

OPINION

For both Kansas groundwater and budget surplus, using too much too fast invites disaster

By: - February 22, 2022

Let’s talk about resources. Two of the most vital for Kansas right now are a natural resource, water, and an unnatural one, money. We send legislators off to Topeka to manage the state’s money, and occasionally they have something to say about the water as well. Put aside, for a moment, arguments about critical race […]