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

The Course Of The Country Turns On Georgia

by Lanhee J. Chenvia Townhall Review
Tuesday, December 29, 2020

The eyes of the political world are all on Georgia, and there’s good reason for that. On January 5, voters in the Peach State will decide the fate of the next several years in American politics—and maybe beyond.

Analysis and Commentary

Lanhee Chen: “Dysfunctional” Doesn’t Adequately Describe The Golden State

by Lanhee J. Chenvia Townhall Review
Monday, December 28, 2020

Want to know how dysfunctional things have gotten in California?


Lanhee Chen: Two Policy Pros On Whether $2,000 Direct Payments Will Help The Economy

interview with Lanhee J. Chenvia CNBC
Monday, December 28, 2020

Hoover Institution fellow Lanhee Chen talks about President Donald Trump's signing of a $900 billion Covid-19 relief bill, averting a government shutdown and extending unemployment benefits to millions of Americans.


Lanhee Chen: Uh, Deal Or No Deal?

interview with Lanhee J. Chenvia KCRW
Friday, December 18, 2020

Hoover Institution fellow Lanhee Chen discusses Biden's choices to lead transportation, climate, energy and environmental policy, and the hope for a big bipartisan infrastructure initiative.


Lanhee Chen: Trump Focuses On Overturning The Election Instead Of Surging Covid Death Toll

interview with Lanhee J. Chenvia NBC News
Sunday, December 13, 2020

Hoover Institution fellow Lanhee Chen joins a panel discussion concerning the 2020 presidential election and what is next for President Trump.

Analysis and Commentary

Lanhee Chen: Two Seats In Georgia

by Lanhee J. Chenvia Townhall Review
Monday, December 7, 2020

It’s easy to dismiss the upcoming Senate elections in Georgia as just another vote to decide two more seats in Congress—and that, ultimately, it may not be all that consequential. I’m sure some of our fellow Americans—and more than a few Georgians—wonder what the point of voting is at all, especially given the outcome of the recent presidential elections.


Lanhee Chen: Biden’s Cabinet Picks Are Under Scrutiny

interview with Lanhee J. Chenvia Yahoo News
Friday, November 27, 2020
Hoover Institution Lanhee Chen Discusses Biden's cabinet picks.
Analysis and CommentaryBlank Section (Placeholder)

Lanhee Chen: A Hypocrisy Pandemic

by Lanhee J. Chenvia Townhall Review
Wednesday, November 25, 2020

California Governor Gavin Newsom has repeatedly called on Californians to come together and make sacrifices to fight COVID-19.

Policy StoriesFeatured

What History Tells Us About The Public Option

by Lanhee J. Chenvia PolicyEd
Tuesday, November 17, 2020

The history of federal health care programs tells us that the public option would quickly become a costly program.


Calif. Gov. Newsom Prime Example Of 'Rampant' COVID-19 Hypocrisy: Lanhee Chen

interview with Lanhee J. Chenvia Fox News
Monday, November 16, 2020

Hoover Institution fellow Lanhee Chen discusses lawmakers who violate their own coronavirus guidelines.