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 cnn.com. 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.
As ‘bomb cyclone’ sends Kansas into deep freeze, let’s answer some reader questions
By: Clay Wirestone - 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, […]
This social media billionaire and Kansas leaders share contempt for the slightest criticism
By: Clay Wirestone - 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 […]
Libraries serve communities, not aggrieved parents. Challenged books have much to teach Kansans.
By: Clay Wirestone - 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 […]
This artificial intelligence program will surprise you. But can it write about Kansas politics?
By: Clay Wirestone - 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: Clay Wirestone - 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 […]
Kansas Supreme Court justice resigns as teacher after KU protests antigay speaker. Bless his heart.
By: Clay Wirestone - 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: Clay Wirestone - 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 […]
Kansas legislators block good policy every session. It’s time to give voters a powerful new voice.
By: Clay Wirestone - 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 […]
This Thanksgiving, your friendly Kansas opinion editor needs to get some gratitude off his chest
By: Clay Wirestone - November 24, 2022
Many holidays thin and fray from familiarity. A relentlessly secularized Christmas too often marks commercial transactions, while the silly spookiness of Halloween has given way to adults parading around in superhero costumes. Thanksgiving, oddly enough, has been spared the worst of this, perhaps because the point of the holiday is right there in the name. […]
This architect of Kansas’ tax policy failure mocks our state. Leaders can’t ignore recent history.
By: Clay Wirestone - November 21, 2022
For the better part of a decade, Kansas government has been consumed by tax policy. Residents first endured former Gov. Sam Brownback’s “experiment,” which resulted in yawning deficits, budget cuts and credit downgrades. Teachers fled. Prisoners rioted. State agencies crumbled. Arduous years of rebuilding followed, under the guidance of Gov. Laura Kelly and a more […]
As Trump announces, Kansas GOP follows his lead and plots revenge. But there’s another way.
By: Clay Wirestone - November 16, 2022
The nation turned its incredulous eyes to Mar-a-Lago Tuesday night as former President Donald Trump launched his third campaign for the highest office in the land. But spare a wary peeper or two for the antics of the Kansas Republican Party, which seems to have absorbed the onetime commander-in-chief’s taste for vengeance against his enemies, […]
Kansas voters deliver thundering midterm message: Underestimate women at your peril
By: Clay Wirestone - November 14, 2022
One piece of advice for the Kansas GOP springs to mind after this year’s elections: Don’t underestimate women. Be it Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly, U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids, the women who ran the campaign to preserve abortion rights, or Kansas voters who turned out to cast their ballots, women defined our state’s balance of power […]