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. Before joining the Reflector, 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.

The Kansas Department of Revenue said state tax collections of $704 million in October exceeded expectations by 11% or $73 million. It was the 27th consecutive month state tax revenue surpassed the forecast. (Getty Images)

With $2 billion surplus on books, Kansas politicians drool over tax cuts. They should think twice.

By: - January 4, 2023

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly and the Legislature both want to make a big mistake. The only question is whose will cost more. The state has $2 billion in the bank, thanks to robust tax collections. That means both the Democratic governor and Republican legislative leaders have decided that Kansans need tax cuts. The governor, to […]

Dawn Rattan, right, cries and applauds Aug. 2, 2022, at the Kansans for Constitutional Freedom watch party after learning Kansans had defeated a constitutional amendment to remove abortion rights. (Lily O'Shea Becker/Kansas Reflector)

In 2022, Kansas Reflector staffers covered shocking upsets and indispensable public policy

By: - January 2, 2023

I’m pretty sure that 2022 took the usual 365 days. Yet it felt like several callithumpian years packed into one. We started by fighting a monstrous COVID-19 hangover, with the omicron variant tearing through Kansas and the Statehouse. We endured a nasty legislative session, along with redistricting and a subsequent court battle. But that was […]


These 10 Kansas Reflector columns dazzled the most readers in 2022. Did your favorite make it?

By: - December 29, 2022

Every morning of 2022, Kansas Reflector published an opinion column. Some of these pieces resonated with thousands upon thousands of readers. Others, um, didn’t. But as we wrap up the year with twine and prepare to store it in the basement along with the rest of recorded history, let’s seize the moment to look back. […]

A Christmas tree with red and green ornaments.

This Christmas Day, let’s spread gentleness in an ever-more-aggressive world

By: - December 25, 2022

Some 20 years ago, I was talking to my friend Nathan about God. As one does. I told him that while it was difficult for me to imagine a literal lord and savior, like the grey-bearded one painted by Michelangelo, I liked believing in something. Some kind of being, some sort of force, some sort […]

A snow plow clears a road.

As ‘bomb cyclone’ sends Kansas into deep freeze, let’s answer some reader questions

By: - December 22, 2022

I hear from Kansas Reflector readers nearly every day. These readers ask why I write the columns I do, why I run the columns I do, and why I think the way I do. Sometimes they praise the pieces, other times they criticize them. On occasion, they appear to come from another dimension entirely. Hopefully, […]

Elon Musk unveils a test tunnel in California.

This social media billionaire and Kansas leaders share contempt for the slightest criticism

By: - December 19, 2022

Let’s all imagine that in a parallel universe to our own, a peculiar billionaire named Melon Husk bought a social media site called Dither. This social media site had seen better days, but it enjoyed outsized influence in the world of politics, technology and news media. Melon Husk reckoned he knew about all three, and […]

Books on shelf in library

Libraries serve communities, not aggrieved parents. Challenged books have much to teach Kansans.

By: - December 12, 2022

Libraries hold a conflicted place our collective imagination. To many of us — to me personally — they’re magical. We were first exposed to worlds of imagination and ideas on the shelves of our local libraries. To others, these buildings serve as indispensable community gathering spots, places to learn and meet and share. But to […]

Businessman has trouble with a computer.

This artificial intelligence program will surprise you. But can it write about Kansas politics?

By: - December 8, 2022

As someone who writes opinion columns but enjoys taking days off now and then, I was excited to learn about ChatGPT. This artificial intelligence program generates tailor-made text in seconds and has already gained mountains of coverage in the global news media. Give the “chatbot” nearly any prompt and it conjures coherent responses: essays, poems, […]


Kansas’ Dan Hawkins and Trump prove that political normalcy remains a distant dream

By: - December 6, 2022

After a midterm election that many in Kansas and the country hoped was a return to normalcy, we’re faced with a deeply disconcerting fact. We don’t live in normal times. In Topeka, we saw the worst of bare-knuckle partisanship on Monday. Incoming House Speaker Dan Hawkins, a Wichita Republican, threatened Democrats’ committee posts if they […]

constitutionality of the 2022 Legislature's maps recasting district boundaries for congressional and legislative seats. (Thad Allton for Kansas Reflector)

Kansas Supreme Court justice resigns as teacher after KU protests antigay speaker. Bless his heart.

By: - December 2, 2022

Kansas Supreme Court Justice Caleb Stegall had his feelings hurt. Students and administrators at the University of Kansas questioned whether the campus Federalist Society should have invited an anti-LGBTQ speaker. Despite protests, the talk from Jordan Lorence of the Alliance Defending Freedom went forward as planned. Stegall outlined the situation and his claims in a […]


With same-sex marriage vote, U.S. Senate values families. Including mine, here in Kansas.

By: - November 30, 2022

The U.S. Senate took a momentous step Tuesday, passing a same-sex marriage law that offers a vital backstop for LGBTQ folks in Kansas and the nation. While the Respect for Marriage Act falls short in some ways, it shows how far we’ve come over the past few decades. In 1996, after all, President Bill Clinton […]

Voters fill out ballots

Kansas legislators block good policy every session. It’s time to give voters a powerful new voice.

By: - November 28, 2022

If Kansans could vote today on the issues, they would expand Medicaid, legalize marijuana and control access to deadly weapons. Already this year, they showed up at the polls in overwhelming numbers to support abortion rights. But lawmakers at the Statehouse have opposed or blocked these measures in the past, and the upcoming legislative session […]