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


Lanhee Chen: Robert Mueller Testifies On Capitol Hill

interview with Lanhee J. Chenvia KQED
Friday, July 26, 2019

Hoover Institution fellow Lanhee Chen discusses the testimony of special counsel Robert Mueller.

Analysis and Commentary

Lanhee Chen: $15 Minimum Wage May Do More Harm Than Good

by Lanhee J. Chenvia Townhall Review
Tuesday, July 23, 2019

The Democrat-controlled House of Representatives recently passed legislation to raise the minimum wage from $7.50 to $15 nationwide. While that might sound good to some, the reality is that such an increase may put up to 3.7 million people out of work, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.


Lanhee Chen On 'Balance Of Power' (9:33)

interview with Lanhee J. Chenvia Bloomberg
Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Hoover Institution fellow Lanhee Chen discusses the two year budget deal reached between President Trump and Congress.


Lanhee Chen: Here’s Where Democrats And Republicans Stand On The Debt Ceiling

interview with Lanhee J. Chenvia CNBC
Monday, July 22, 2019

Hoover Institution fellow Lanhee Chen discusses the latest details on the debt ceiling fight in Washington, and how it might get resolved.


Lanhee Chen On 'Face The Nation' Roundtable

interview with Lanhee J. Chenvia Real Clear Politics
Sunday, July 21, 2019

Hoover Institution fellow Lanhee Chen joins a panel discussion concerning President Trump's tweets and how his tweets are used to consolidate republican support. Chen notes that President's Trump's tweets are about expanding his base before the 2020 election.

Lanhee Chen

Lanhee Chen Talks To A&G

interview with Lanhee J. Chenvia Armstrong and Getty
Thursday, July 18, 2019

Hoover Institution fellow Lanhee Chen talks about the political influence of The Squad, and the danger of not caring about the budget deficit.


Lanhee Chen: Week In Politics: Citizenship Question, The Next Dem Debates, Iran’s Uranium And More

interview with Lanhee J. Chenvia KPCC 89.3 (Southern California)
Monday, July 8, 2019

Hoover Institution fellow Lanhee Chen discusses the Supreme Court's ruling on the census question, Iran, Biden, and much more.


Lanhee Chen: Currency War Between U.S. and China, Europe Unlikely

interview with Lanhee J. Chenvia Bloomberg
Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Hoover Institution fellow Lanhee Chen talks about President Donald Trump's tweet that China and Europe are playing a big currency manipulation game, and that the the US should match their efforts rather than just watch as other countries manipulate their currencies. Chen also discusses the trade disputes between the US and China.

Analysis and Commentary

Lanhee Chen: There Is No Such Thing As “Free Health Care”

by Lanhee J. Chenvia Townhall
Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Massachusetts Senator and Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren has now lost whatever slim chance she had of becoming President. In the first debate between Democratic Party presidential candidates, Warren endorsed the idea of taking away private health insurance from every American who has it, and replacing it with a socialist-style, one-size-fits-all government-run health plan.


Odds Are Good For A Trump Reelection: Lanhee Chen (Radio)

interview with Lanhee J. Chenvia Bloomberg
Monday, July 1, 2019

Hoover Institution fellow Lanhee Chen discusses the Democratic candidates and the 2020 political landscape.