Lanhee J. Chen

David and Diane Steffy Research Fellow
Research Team: 
Biography: 

Lanhee J. Chen, Ph.D. 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 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 has been a CNN Political Commentator and provided political analysis and commentary on nearly every other major television network.  Chen is also a member of the Editorial Board of the Salem Media Group. 

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

Lanhee Chen: An Alliance Worth Defending

by Lanhee J. Chenvia Townhall Review
Monday, July 16, 2018

There’s been a lot of talk recently about whether NATO—an alliance started after World War II—is still relevant in today’s world.  The answer is a simple and unequivocal “yes.” It is.

Analysis and Commentary

Senator McConnell Deserves A Very Nice Thank You Note

by Lanhee J. Chenvia Townhall
Thursday, July 5, 2018

President Trump will tell us next week who his pick will be to serve as the next Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court. When he does so, he ought to send a thank you note to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Analysis and Commentary

Lanhee Chen: North Korean Summit A Significant Step On A Long Road

by Lanhee J. Chenvia Townhall Review
Tuesday, June 12, 2018

President Trump’s historic summit with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un was a very significant step as the two leaders seek to bridge the wide chasm that has separated the two nations since the cessation of hostilities on the Korean Peninsula almost 65 years ago.

Analysis and Commentary

The President’s Prescription Plan: A Step In The Right Direction

by Lanhee J. Chenvia Townhall
Monday, May 21, 2018

President Trump recently announced his plan to lower prescription drug costs. It’s a solid plan that strikes the delicate balance between promoting innovation with the need to ensure that consumers have access to the medicines they need at a price they can afford.

Analysis and Commentary

Lanhee Chen: Homelessness Crisis In The Golden State

by Lanhee J. Chenvia Townhall Review
Tuesday, May 8, 2018

There’s a fine line between compassion and foolishness when it comes to public policy impacting the homeless. Unfortunately, a whole host of cites cities—particularly in California—have crossed that line.

Analysis and Commentary

Encouraging Developments On North Korea

by Lanhee J. Chenvia Townhall
Thursday, May 3, 2018

When it comes to North Korea, the old adage of “Trust, but verify” isn’t nearly enough. We should—absolutely—be skeptical of the rogue regime’s claims. And we should, of course, hold them accountable for whatever promises they might make.

Analysis and Commentary

Making Health Insurance Enrollment As Automatic As Possible (Part 2)

by Stan Dorn, James C. Capretta, Lanhee J. Chenvia Health Affairs
Thursday, May 3, 2018

In December 2017, the Republican Congress, working with the Trump administration, repealed the tax penalties enforcing the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) individual mandate, effective in 2019. Although the degree of the mandate’s efficacy is uncertain, its repeal is sure to lead to additional Americans going without coverage, exacerbating the instability that now affects the individual insurance markets of many states.

Congressman Paul Ryan
Analysis and Commentary

Paul Ryan One Of The Conservative Movement’s Most Articulate And Thoughtful Leaders

by Lanhee J. Chenvia Townhall
Thursday, April 26, 2018

Paul Ryan has announced that he won’t be running for reelection again this fall. He was first elected to Congress in 1998 and during his 20 years there, has served the citizens of the First District of Wisconsin well. Even as he rose to become one of the most powerful elected leaders in the country Paul remained a humble man who is, above all, a devoted husband and father.

Analysis and Commentary

Lanhee Chen: The “Liberal Lion” And The Future Of The Courts

by Lanhee J. Chenvia Townhall Review
Friday, April 6, 2018

Stephen Reinhardt, who was called the “liberal lion” of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, passed away on March 29th in Los Angeles. During his almost 40 years on the appeals court bench, Reinhardt wrote opinions that struck down the constitutionality of the words “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance and overturned Proposition 8, California’s initiative defining marriage as a male-female union.

Analysis and Commentary

A Potential Of Breakthrough On North Korea

by Lanhee J. Chenvia Townhall
Thursday, March 15, 2018

President Trump shocked the world when he agreed to meet with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. While there’s reason to be skeptical of Kim’s motives and tactics, we should all acknowledge that the President has managed to secure a major diplomatic breakthrough in the crisis.

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