One of Mitt Romney’s top advisors is a rising Asian-American political star from Southern California. As Romney’s chief policy director, 34-year-old Lanhee Chen plays a key role in advising the Republican presidential nominee on foreign and domestic issues.
At the GOP Convention in Tampa in August, Asian-American journalists from around the country couldn’t wait to talk to Lanhee Chen. They peppered him with questions about Mitt Romney’s immigration policy and views on Asia.
Chen responded to one of the reporters, “Well, I mean obviously there are some challenges in the region. China is becoming increasingly aggressive in the South China Sea.”
Chen, dressed in a sport coat and open collar, answered questions easily, until a reporter asked a more personal question, about his role as one of the few prominent Asian Americans inside a Republican campaign for president.
“I’m not really ever sure what to say about that, but it is interesting to look around and realize that most people don’t look quite like you do,” said Chen.
Lanhee Chen was born in Rowland Heights, just east of downtown Los Angeles, to parents who immigrated to the United States from Taiwan. He is something of the classic second-generation success story — he holds four degrees from Harvard, including a law degree and Ph.D. Chen is a policy wonk, but also a skilled Romney spokesman who has appeared on Fox News to represent the campaign.