Lanhee J. Chen

David and Diane Steffy Research Fellow
Research Team: 

Lanhee J. Chen is the David and Diane Steffy Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution; Director of Domestic Policy Studies and Lecturer in the Public Policy Program at Stanford University; and an affiliate of Stanford’s Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies.  He is also a CNN Political Commentator and Counsel at the law firm of Arent Fox LLP.

A veteran of several high-profile political campaigns, Chen has worked in government, the private sector, and academia. 

Most recently, Chen was an adviser to Senator Marco Rubio’s 2016 presidential campaign.  In 2012, he was the policy director for the Romney-Ryan presidential campaign, as well as Governor Mitt Romney’s chief policy adviser; a senior strategist on the campaign; and the person responsible for developing the campaign’s domestic and foreign policy. He advised Romney on every major public policy challenge facing the United States and worked with a variety of stakeholders, including the congressional leadership, industry and business interests, and policy experts, to shape the campaign’s issues agenda.

In 2014, Chen was the Senior Adviser on Policy to the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC).  He was the deputy campaign manager and policy director of Steve Poizner’s 2010 California gubernatorial campaign, the domestic policy director of Governor Romney’s first presidential bid in 2008, and a health policy adviser to the Bush-Cheney reelection campaign in 2004.

Chen currently serves as a presidentially-appointed and Senate-confirmed member of the Social Security Advisory Board—an independent, bipartisan panel that advises the president, Congress, and the Commissioner of Social Security on matters related to the Social Security and Supplemental Security Income programs.

Chen was honored in 2015 as one of the POLITICO 50, a list of the “thinkers, doers, and visionaries transforming American politics.”  He earned a similar honor in 2012 when he was named one of POLITICO’s “50 Politicos to Watch.”  Chen’s writings have appeared in a variety of outlets, including The Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, and Bloomberg View.  He currently appears exclusively on CNN but has previously provided commentary on a variety of television networks, including NBC, MSNBC, CNBC, FOX News, Bloomberg Television, and FOX Business Network.  Chen is also a Contributing Commentator for Salem Media Group’s daily Townhall.Com Commentary, heard by over 2 million listeners across the country every day.

In the Bush administration, Chen was a senior official at the US Department of Health and Human Services. His private-sector experience includes having been an associate attorney with the international law firm of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, where he practiced business litigation. Chen was also the Winnie Neubauer Visiting Fellow in Health Policy Studies at the Heritage Foundation and worked as a health policy advocate for a major business group in Washington, DC.

At Stanford, Chen serves as a member of the Faculty Steering Committee at the Haas Center for Public Service.  He has also been Lecturer in Law at Stanford Law School.  An eight-time winner of Harvard University’s Certificate of Distinction in Teaching, Chen’s scholarship has appeared or been cited in several of the nation’s top political science journals.

Chen frequently provides advice to companies and governmental entities on a wide range of contemporary public policy issues and is the founder and president of Launch Policy Strategies, a strategic consulting company.  He is also a member of both the International Advisory Council and the Health Advisory Board at APCO Worldwide, an international public affairs and communications firm.

Chen also serves in a variety of leadership roles in nonprofits and community-based organizations.  He is a Director of El Camino Hospital in the Silicon Valley, serves on the Board of Trustees of the Junior Statesmen Foundation and is on the Advisory Board of the Partnership for the Future of Medicare. Chen was recently elected to membership in the Committee of 100, an organization of prominent Chinese Americans.

Chen earned his Ph.D. and A.M. in political science from Harvard University, his J.D. cum laude from Harvard Law School, and his A.B. magna cum laude in government from Harvard College. He is a member of the State Bar of California.

A native of Rowland Heights, California, he currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife and children.

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Recent Commentary

Analysis and Commentary

Who Won The Debate?

by Lanhee J. Chenvia CNN
Thursday, October 20, 2016

We, the people, were the big losers in tonight's debate. Both candidates had the opportunity to address serious problems with real solutions, but all we heard were platitudes and unrealistic plans.

Analysis and Commentary

Chen: Pay Careful Attention To The Senate

by Lanhee J. Chenvia Townhall
Wednesday, October 19, 2016

With the intense focus on this year’s presidential election, it’s easy to overlook some very important races for other offices around the country. In particular, voters should pay careful attention to elections for the United States Senate. 

Analysis and Commentary

Who Won The Vice Presidential Debate?

by Lanhee J. Chenvia CNN
Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Governor Mike Pence did not change the underlying dynamics of the campaign Tuesday night, but he did provide a significant service to Donald Trump: he gave fresh heart to Trump supporters and may have stopped the downward spiral of their campaign.

Analysis and Commentary

Is Bill Clinton Right About Obamacare?

by Lanhee J. Chenvia CNN
Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Bill Clinton raised some eyebrows on the campaign trail Monday when he declared that Obamacare "is the craziest thing in the world." He assailed the law for escalating health care costs and decreasing health plan choices amongst middle-income Americans.

Analysis and Commentary

Chen: The Constitution And The 2016 Election

by Lanhee J. Chenvia Townhall
Wednesday, September 28, 2016

This past September 17, we commemorated the 229th anniversary of the United States Constitution. I wouldn’t be surprised if you heard very little about the day. It’s a shame as it celebrated the most important document in our nation’s history.

Analysis and Commentary

Chen: Now the Debates

by Lanhee J. Chenvia Townhall
Monday, September 26, 2016

In about 40 days, Americans will go to the polls to pick a new president. Between now and then, few events will be more consequential than the three general election debates.

Analysis and CommentaryBlank Section (Placeholder)

The Good, The Bad And The Ugly About Trump's Economic Plans

by Lanhee J. Chenvia CNN
Friday, September 16, 2016

Donald Trump on Thursday re-introduced his plan for economic growth into a presidential campaign that has so far been light on policy. And while the Republican nominee didn't reveal too many additional details, we now have a better picture of the kinds of economic policy changes he would pursue if elected president.

Law, Healthcare, and Finance
Analysis and Commentary

As Health Care Costs Keep Rising

by Lanhee J. Chenvia Townhall
Thursday, September 8, 2016

Health care costs keep rising, and it’s the middle class in America that’s feeling the squeeze.

How Trump Can Prep For The Debate And Win

by Lanhee J. Chen
Tuesday, August 30, 2016

The upcoming debates are Donald Trump's best (and likely last) chance to influence the course of this year's presidential election. 

Analysis and Commentary

Bailing On Obamacare

by Lanhee J. Chenvia Townhall
Tuesday, August 30, 2016

It’s another day, and we have more bad news about Obamacare. Some of the nation’s largest insurers have decided they don’t want to sell insurance on the law’s health insurance exchanges.