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Teen Birth Rates, Sex Ed, Campaign Managers, and John P. McGovern: Houston Matters for Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released a preliminary National Vital Statistics Report on birth rates in 2013. According to the CDC, teen birth rates are at their lowest ever. In 2013, there were 26.6 births per one thousand women aged 15 to 19. That’s down 10 percent from 2012 (29.4), which was the […]

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released a preliminary National Vital Statistics Report on birth rates in 2013. According to the CDC, teen birth rates are at their lowest ever. In 2013, there were 26.6 births per one thousand women aged 15 to 19. That’s down 10 percent from 2012 (29.4), which was the previous historic low for the United States.

But according to recent United Nations data, it’s still a rate 5.5 times higher than in some Western European nations.

And here in Texas, the 2012 teen birth rate was 44.4 per one thousand women – that’s about 50 percent higher than the 2012 national average.

On this edition of Houston Matters, we explore why teen birth rates are declining, yet are still much higher in Texas than in the rest of the country. We also discuss what could be done locally to further curb the teen birth rate in Harris County. Then we discuss current policies in Texas regarding teaching sex education in public schools.

Also this hour: Political campaign managers have been in the spotlight recently. Last week, Texas Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis announced she was replacing veteran campaign manager Karin Johanson. Around the same time, national attention turned towards Dave Brat’s 23-year-old campaign manager, after Brat defeated fellow Republican and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in a Congressional primary.

So, what exactly do campaign managers do? How much influence do they have over what candidates for political office say and do? And why should we care about the goings-on behind the scenes of a political campaign. We discuss these and other intricacies of political campaigning  in Texas, the role campaign managers play, the challenges they face and how much influence they ultimately have on a campaign’s success or failure.

And: We continue our summer reading series, as we talk with Bryant Boutwell, author of John P. McGovern: A Lifetime of Stories.

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