Lanhee J. Chen

David and Diane Steffy Research Fellow
Research Team: 

Lanhee J. Chen, Ph.D. is the David and Diane Steffy Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution and Director of Domestic Policy Studies and Lecturer in the Public Policy Program at Stanford University.  A veteran of several high-profile political campaigns, Chen has worked in politics, government, the private sector, and academia. 

He has advised numerous major campaigns, including four presidential efforts.  In 2012, he was policy director of the Romney-Ryan campaign, and served 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.  Chen also advised Senator Marco Rubio's 2016 presidential bid, served as Domestic Policy Director of Romney's 2008 campaign, and was a health policy adviser to the Bush-Cheney reelection campaign in 2004.  During the 2014 and 2018 campaign cycles, Chen served as a Senior Adviser on Policy to the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC).

Chen is currently an Operating Partner at New Road Capital Partners, a private equity firm, where he helps to direct healthcare investments for the firm’s latest fund.  He is also a Senior Counselor at the Brunswick Group, a global business advisory firm.

From 2014 to 2018, Chen served 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.  He is currently a Senior Adviser to and member of the Aspen Economic Strategy Group, an Aspen Institute program, co-chaired by Hank Paulson and Erskine Bowles, that draws together a diverse range of distinguished leaders and thinkers to address significant structural challenges in the U.S. economy.

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 JournalThe New York Times, The Washington Post, 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.

In 2017, Chen was the William E. Simon Visiting Professor in the School of Public Policy at Pepperdine University.  At Stanford, he also serves on the Faculty Steering Committee of the Haas Center for Public Service, is an affiliate of the Freeman-Spogli Institute for International Studies, and was 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 serves in a variety of leadership roles in nonprofits and community-based organizations.  He is Chair of the Board of Directors of El Camino Hospital in the Silicon Valley, a member of the National Advisory Committee of the Democracy Fund, a Director of the Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity (FREOPP), a member of the Advisory Board of the Partnership for the Future of Medicare, and a member of the Council of Scholars for the Better Medicare Alliance.  He is also a member of 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


Sebastian Gorka And Lanhee Chen On The Green New Deal And Electoral College

interview with Lanhee J. Chenvia Townhall Review
Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Hoover Institution fellow Lanhee Chen discusses Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal as well as the importance of the electoral college and judicial appointments.


Lanhee Chen: Socialism's Siren Song

interview with Lanhee J. Chenvia Armstrong and Getty
Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Hoover Institution fellow Lanhee Chen discusses the Green New Deal and why Americans should be concerned.


Three Obamacare Tweaks That Both Parties Can Love

by Lanhee J. Chen, James C. Caprettavia Politico
Tuesday, February 12, 2019

The Republican loss of the House last November brought an official end (at least through 2020) to the party’s long campaign to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. The Democrats, despite their new majority, won’t be able to pass their health care agenda either, because the Republican president and Senate will block it.


Lanhee Chen: Ep. 5: Dana Dishes

by Lanhee J. Chenvia Crossing Lines with Lanhee Chen
Friday, February 8, 2019
Hoover Institution fellow Lanhee Chen talks with Dana Perino about her time as White House Press Secretary, the state of the media, and the lessons that journalists and citizens should take from the 2016 and 2018 elections as we look ahead to 2020. Lanhee also gives us his thoughts about the Democrats’ “Green New Deal” and why the State of the Union was President Trump’s “opening salvo” in the 2020 presidential campaign.
Analysis and Commentary

Seeing The Similarities In The Early Entries For 2020 Presidential Contest

by Lanhee J. Chenvia Townhall
Thursday, February 7, 2019

There are a whole lot of Democrats running for the presidency in 2020. If names like Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Kirsten Gillibrand, and Joaquin Castro aren’t household names today, they certainly will over the next year or so.


Lanhee Chen: Trump Could Benefit From Co-Opting Democrat Policies

interview with Lanhee J. Chenvia Bloomberg
Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Hoover Institution fellow Lanhee Chen discusses key takeaways from the State of the Union as well as the Democratic response.


State Of The Union Is Trump's First Major Speech In 2020 Election Cycle

interview with Lanhee J. Chenvia KGOU
Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Hoover Institution fellow Lanhee Chen discusses President Trump's State of the Union speech as well as President Trump's chances in 2020.

Analysis and Commentary

Kamala Harris Wants To Eliminate Private Health Insurance

by Lanhee J. Chenvia Townhall
Monday, February 4, 2019

Liberal California Senator Kamala Harris made a splash last week when she launched her campaign for president. The signature idea she plans to run on? A single-payer, government-run health care system called Medicare-for-all.

In the News

Under Pressure To Recalibrate, Defiant Trump Tackles Big Speech

quoting Lanhee J. Chenvia US News
Friday, February 1, 2019

Under pressure from fellow Republicans to reset his contentious presidency, Donald Trump plans to offer Democrats a choice in his State of the Union speech on Tuesday: Work together to make progress, or fight each other and get nothing done.


Lanhee Chen On Armstrong & Getty One More Thing (26:20)

interview with Lanhee J. Chenvia Armstrong and Getty
Thursday, January 31, 2019

Hoover Institution fellow Lanhee Chen talks about Howard Schultz and who he thinks may be the most formidable Democrat candidate.