Lanhee J. Chen

David and Diane Steffy Fellow in American Public Policy Studies

Lanhee J. Chen, Ph.D. is the David and Diane Steffy Fellow in American Public Policy Studies 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, academia, and the private sector.

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).

In addition to his academic appointments, Chen is a Senior Counselor at the Brunswick Group, a global business advisory firm; an Operating Partner at New Road Capital Partners, where he helps to direct healthcare investments for the private equity firm’s current fund; and Chair of the Board of Directors at El Camino Health in Northern California. He is also a member of the Aspen Economic Strategy Group at the Aspen Institute.

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 also served in the George W. Bush Administration as a senior official at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 

Chen’s writings have appeared in a variety of outlets, including The Wall Street JournalThe New York Times, The Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times. He has been a CNN Political Commentator and provided political analysis and commentary on every other major television network. Chen currently serves as a member of the Editorial Board of the Salem Media Group. 

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.” 

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 affiliated faculty member of the Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law (CDDRL) at 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.

Previously, Chen practiced law at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP and was the Winnie Neubauer Visiting Fellow in Health Policy Studies at The Heritage Foundation.

Chen serves in a variety of leadership roles in nonprofits and community-based organizations. He is Chair of the Policy Advisory Board of Free the Facts, a policy education group; 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

California flag
In the News

Despite Leaning Left, California Voters Reject Split Roll, Affirmative Action Measures; Back Prop. 22

quoting Lanhee J. Chenvia CBS San Francisco
Thursday, November 5, 2020
SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) – While Joe Biden is leading President Donald Trump by a 2-to-1 margin in California, results of several state ballot measures arguably show how some more conservative ideas are being supported by California voters.
In the News

Move To Reinstate Affirmative Action Loses In California

quoting Lanhee J. Chenvia Education Week
Thursday, November 5, 2020

The campaign to reinstate affirmative action in overwhelmingly Democratic California had money, momentum and big-name backers, including Black celebrities Issa Rae and Ava DuVernay, but voters in the most populated state rejected the measure.

Analysis and CommentaryPolitics

Chen: GOP Exceeds Expectations In Contests For The Senate

by Lanhee J. Chenvia Townhall Review
Thursday, November 5, 2020

We’re still waiting for the dust to settle on this year’s elections, but one thing appears extremely likely: Republicans will retain control of the United States Senate.


Hoover Institution's Lanhee Chen On Presidential Election

interview with Lanhee J. Chenvia Bloomberg
Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Hoover Institution fellow Lanhee Chen discusses the US presidential race.


Lanhee Chen: How Can President Trump Or Joe Biden Win Florida?

interview with Lanhee J. Chenvia Fox News
Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Hoover Institution fellow Lanhee Chen weighs in on the 2020 presidential candidates' path to winning Florida.


Georgia, Arizona And Pennsylvania Tell The Story Of This Election Cycle: Fmr. Mitt Romney Policy Advisor Lanhee Chen

interview with Lanhee J. Chenvia Yahoo! Finance
Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Hoover Institution fellow Lanhee Chen discusses the stock market outlook amid election volatility.


Lanhee Chen: A Look At The Biden And Trump Campaigns' Strategies In Final Stretch Before Election Day

interview with Lanhee J. Chenvia Yahoo News
Saturday, October 31, 2020

Hoover Institution fellow Lanhee Chen discusses the Biden and Trump campaigns' strategies in the home stretch.


Lanhee Chen: Second Night Of Unrest Over Fatal Police Shooting In Philadelphia

interview with Lanhee J. Chenvia MSN
Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Hoover Institution fellow Lanhee Chen discusses the police shooting and unrest in Philadelphia.


Lanhee Chen: If Biden Defeats Trump, Does Trumpism Still Survive?

interview with Lanhee J. Chenvia MSNBC
Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Hoover Institution fellow Lanhee Chen discusses what policies of President Trump might survive if Joe Biden is elected president.


Lanhee Chen: Candidates Make One Final Push To Get Their Message Out

interview with Lanhee J. Chenvia Flipboard
Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Hoover Institution fellow Lanhee Chen discusses the final campaign push for the presidency.