lanhee chen 2017 headshot reduced size

Lanhee J. Chen

  • David and Diane Steffy Fellow in American Public Policy Studies, Hoover Institution
  • Director of Domestic Policy Studies and Lecturer, Public Policy Program


Lanhee J. Chen, Ph.D. is the David and Diane Steffy Fellow in American Public Policy Studies at the Hoover Institution, as well as Director of Domestic Policy Studies and Lecturer in the Public Policy Program and an affiliated faculty member of the Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law (CDDRL) at the Freeman-Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University. 

A veteran of several high-profile political campaigns, he has worked in politics, government, academia, and the private sector. 

Chen has worked on four presidential campaigns, including as the policy director of Romney-Ryan 2012. In addition to serving as Governor Mitt Romney’s chief policy adviser, he was also a senior strategist on the campaign. Chen advised Florida Senator Marco Rubio’s 2016 bid; was the Domestic Policy Director of Romney’s 2008 effort; and a health policy adviser to the Bush-Cheney reelection campaign in 2004.  In the 2014 and 2018 campaign cycles, he was the Senior Adviser on Policy to the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC). In 2015, Chen was honored as one of the POLITICO 50, a list of the “thinkers, doers, and visionaries transforming American politics” and in 2012 was named one of POLITICO’s “50 Politicos to Watch.” 

In addition to his academic appointments, Chen is a Senior Counselor at the Brunswick Group, a global business advisory firm; a Strategic Advisor at New Road Capital Partners, a private equity fund; and Chair of the Board of Directors at El Camino Health, a network of health care providers in Northern California.  

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 is a regular contributor for CNN Opinion, and his writings have appeared in a variety of outlets, including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and The Washington Post.  He has provided political analysis and commentary on every major television network and is a regular guest on the nation’s top news programs.  Chen is also a member of the Editorial Board for the Salem Media Group.  

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 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. Previously, he served as the inaugural Director of the Aspen Economic Strategy Group, a project of the Aspen Institute. 

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.