Lanhee Chen

Former Policy Director for the Romney-Ryan Presidential Campaign

Lanhee Chen

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Lanhee J. Chen, Ph.D. is a research fellow at the Hoover Institution and teaches in the Public Policy Program at Stanford University. His current research focuses on campaigns and elections, health policy, economic policy, and California policy and politics. Chen, a veteran of several high-profile political campaigns, has also served in government, the private sector, and academia.

Before coming to Hoover, Chen was the policy director for the Romney-Ryan presidential campaign, as well as Governor Romney’s chief policy adviser, a senior strategist on the campaign, and the person responsible for developing the campaign’s domestic and foreign policy. He advised Romney on every major public policy challenge facing the United States and worked with a variety of stakeholders, including the congressional leadership, industry and business interests, and policy experts to shape the campaign’s issues agenda. In 2012, he was named one of POLITICO’s “50 Politicos to Watch.”

Chen also served as the deputy campaign manager and policy director of Steve Poizner’s 2010 California gubernatorial campaign, the domestic policy director of Governor Romney’s first presidential bid in 2008, and a health policy adviser to the Bush-Cheney reelection campaign in 2004.

Chen served in the Bush administration as a senior official at the US Department of Health and Human Services. His private-sector experience includes time as an associate attorney with the international law firm of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, where he practiced business litigation. Additionally, Chen was the Winnie Neubauer Visiting Fellow in Health Policy Studies at the Heritage Foundation and worked as a health policy advocate for a major business group in Washington, DC.

Chen is an eight-time winner of Harvard University’s Certificate of Distinction in Teaching, and his scholarship has appeared or been cited in several of the nation’s top political science journals.

He earned his PhD and AM in political science from Harvard University, his JD cum laude from Harvard Law School, and his AB 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 Bay Area with his wife, Cynthia, and his son, Tobin.

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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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