Lanhee Chen

Public Policy Expert, Hoover Institution Fellow and Former Presidential Campaign Senior Advisor
Lanhee Chen Speaker
  • A fellow at the Hoover Institution and Stanford public policy faculty member focusing on health policy, economic policy, campaigns and elections, and California policy and politics
  • Candidate for California State Controller in 2022, earning more votes in the general election that year than any other Republican candidate in America
  • Was chief policy adviser to Mitt Romney during his 2012 presidential campaign, advised Romney on every major public policy challenge facing the United States and formulated both his domestic and foreign policy agendas
  • Served in both the Obama and Bush administrations, as a member of the Social Security Advisory Board (2015-18) and as a senior official at the US Department of Health and Human Services (2008)

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Lanhee J. Chen, Ph.D. is a leading U.S. public policy expert, political commentator, and former candidate for statewide office in California. He 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. Lanhee is also a Partner at the Brunswick Group, a global critical issues and public affairs firm. His writings have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and The Washington Post, and he is a regular contributor at CNN Opinion. He has also provided political and policy commentary on every major American television network.

Lanhee ran unsuccessfully in 2022 for California State Controller but earned more votes in the general election than any other Republican candidate in America and won the endorsement of every major newspaper in the state.

Lanhee has advised four Republican presidential campaigns: He was the Policy Director of the Romney-Ryan 2012 campaign and served as Romney’s chief policy advisor; advised Senator Marco Rubio on his 2016 presidential bid; served as Domestic Policy Director of Romney's 2008 campaign; and was a Health Policy Advisor to President Bush in his 2004 re-election campaign. From 2014 to 2018, Lanhee was nominated by President Barack Obama and unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate to serve on the Social Security Advisory Board. During the George W. Bush Administration, Lanhee served as a senior appointee at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 

Previously, Lanhee was an operating partner and strategic advisor at NewRoad Capital Partners, a private equity firm, and a business litigator at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP.

Lanhee is a member of the Boards of Directors of El Camino Health, the Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity (FREOPP), the David A. Winston Health Policy Fellowship, and the Healthcare Consumer Rights Foundation.

He earned a Ph.D. and an A.M. in political science from Harvard University, his J.D. cum laude from Harvard Law School and an A.B. magna cum laude in government from Harvard College.


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Obamacare: Diagnoses and Prescriptions

President Obama’s signature healthcare bill has been the source of considerable controversy since its passage in 2010.  As one of the nation’s leading health policy experts, Hoover Institution Fellow and Stanford University professor, Lanhee Chen, breaks down the impacts the law has had on American businesses and consumers.  Chen served as Governor Mitt Romney and Congressman Paul Ryan’s chief policy adviser during the 2012 campaign, was responsible for the development of the campaign’s policy agenda, and fundamentally understands the ins-and-outs of Obamacare.  In his presentation, Chen will reveal the law’s unintended consequences, discuss policy changes that can help to mitigate them, and provide insights into the political outlook for the law.  His blend of political and policy expertise—gained from service on three presidential campaigns, work in academic and policy settings, and at the most senior levels of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services—provides unique insights into Obamacare and how it has affected our country and its economy.

The Future of the Republican Party: How the GOP Can Become the Party of Opportunity Again

Lanhee Chen, one of Mitt Romney’s top campaign strategists, a leading policy thinker in the party, and a Bloomberg columnist, has the answers to the future of the Republican party. Chen has been a forceful advocate for greater GOP engagement with minority communities, and the Asian-American electorate, in particular.  In his presentation, Chen will provide a behind-the-scenes look at where the party is today, the efforts it has underway to grow its coalition, and where the GOP is headed.

Tax Reform: Challenges, Opportunities, and Prospects for Success

Will this be the year when Congress and the president finally tackle fundamental tax reform? Economists and business leaders alike agree that reform of our tax code will benefit the economy—yet there never seems to be the political will in Washington to get the job done.  In this presentation, Lanhee Chen, the policy director of the Romney campaign who is now a Fellow at the Hoover Institution, identifies the challenges and opportunities presented by tax reform. Chen draws on his economic policy expertise, political experience, and deep relationships on Capitol Hill to provide an in-depth look at the prospects for tax reform. His experience from the Romney campaign fighting the political, messaging, and policy battles over tax reform gives him a unique perspective regarding the likelihood that changes to our tax system will actually be signed into law.

Does Policy Matter? A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Role of Issues in a Presidential Campaign
A presidential campaign is a dynamic and fast-moving environment that seems generally ill-suited to the more deliberate nature of public policymaking. But every four years, these campaigns regularly produce substantial agendas that form the basis of presidential policymaking for the winners of the elections. How does public policy get made on a presidential campaign, and what role does a policy agenda (and issues more generally) play in the heat of a presidential campaign? Does policy matter to the campaign, electoral outcomes, or anything else? Lanhee Chen, who has served on the policy staffs of three presidential campaigns—most recently as Policy Director of the Romney-Ryan ticket—has a unique perspective on the role that issues and policy agendas play in campaigns and elections. In this presentation, Chen provides an insider’s look at the strategic role that policy plays on campaigns, and how issue agendas can influence public opinion, electoral outcomes, and policymaking in government.

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