Lanhee J. Chen

David and Diane Steffy Fellow in American Public Policy Studies
Research Team: 

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 Hospital in the Silicon Valley.  He is also a Senior Adviser to and 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 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.

Previously, Chen practiced law at two major law firms 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 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

Analysis and Commentary

Lanhee Chen: A Solid Choice For A Critical Post

by Lanhee J. Chenvia Townhall Review
Monday, September 23, 2019

President Trump has picked Robert O’Brien to serve as his National Security Adviser, and he couldn’t have made a better choice for such an important job.


Another Norm-Breaking Piece Of Activity From Trump, Says Hoover Institution’s Lanhee Chen

interview with Lanhee J. Chenvia Bloomberg
Sunday, September 22, 2019

Hoover Institution fellow Lanhee Chen discusses President Trump’s phone call involving the Ukraine leader and how this could impact the 2020 election.


Lanhee Chen On Face The Nation

interview with Lanhee J. Chenvia Face the Nation (CBS)
Sunday, September 22, 2019

Hoover Institution fellow Lanhee Chen discusses foreign policy.

Analysis and Commentary

Lanhee Chen: The Court Legacy For The Trump Era

by Lanhee J. Chenvia Townhall Review
Wednesday, September 18, 2019

The United States Senate confirmed President Trump’s 150th judicial nominee last week, marking what Senator Lindsay Graham of South Carolina called a “historic milestone.”

In the News

Uninsured Rate Rises For The 1st Time Since ACA

quoting Lanhee J. Chenvia Healthcare Drive
Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Though the uninsured rate fluctuates throughout the year, 2018 saw the first annual increase in the number of uninsured Americans in almost a decade amid Trump administration actions that have destabilized the Affordable Care Act and cut enrollment in safety net programs.

Analysis and Commentary

Lanhee Chen: As The Field Narrows

by Lanhee J. Chenvia Townhall Review
Friday, September 6, 2019

And then there were ten. That is: Ten Democrats who have qualified to participate in the next presidential primary debate on September 12. Although the field has narrowed, the candidates’ drift toward far-left progressive policies continues—particularly when it comes to efforts to deal with climate change.


Lanhee Chen: Hong Kong's Chief Executive Makes A Concession To Protesters

interview with Lanhee J. Chenvia KCBS Radio
Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Hoover Institution fellow Lanhee Chen discusses the heated political situation in Hong Kong and whether it will cool down now that Chief Executive, Carrie Lam announced that the government will be withdrawing the extradition bill that sparked massive protests for the past few months.


Lanhee Chen: Most U.S. Companies Are Staying In China Despite Trade War - Survey

interview with Lanhee J. Chenvia Yahoo Finance
Friday, August 30, 2019

Hoover Institution fellow Lanhee Chen discusses President Trump's hope that trade tariffs will encourage American companies to move back to the US.


Dropouts & Outliers. Lanhee Chen Talks To A&G

interview with Lanhee J. Chenvia Talk 650 KSTE
Thursday, August 29, 2019

Hoover Institution fellow Lanhee Chen weighs in on the path towards the 2020 presidential election.

Lanhee Chen
Analysis and Commentary

Meet The New Boss

with Lanhee J. Chenvia Crossing Lines with Lanhee Chen
Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Hoover Institution fellow Lanhee Chen sits down with new Congressional Budget Office director, Phill Swagel, to talk about his journey to the agency, what it does, and why people should care. They also talk about the state of the economy and why trillion-dollar deficits are a problem.