The head of the policy division of Republican US presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s campaign is Lanhee Chen (陳仁宜), 34, the son of Taiwanese immigrants.
Chen, whose parents are from Yunlin County, is one of the few Asians in prominent positions in the Republican presidential campaign.
A politician with a strong academic background, Chen holds four Harvard degrees — one bachelor’s, one master’s and two doctorates, one in law and one in politics. He worked at a lobbying firm after obtaining his first degree in 1999.
He then worked as a fellow at the Heritage Foundation, where he studied healthcare and economic policies.
He joined the Republican Party in 2007, the same year that Romney threw his hat into the ring for the party’s nomination for the 2008 presidential election.
Chen served as a senior aide in the Health and Human Services department during the administration of former US president George W. Bush.
In 2008, Chen was named chief domestic policy adviser for Romney’s nomination campaign and joined the current presidential campaign in March last year.
In a profile of Chen in the Washington Post, freelance writer Molly Redden described him as “brilliant.”
Former US secretary of labor Elaine Chao (趙小蘭), who was born in Taiwan, said Chen was a rising star in the Republican Party.
It is rare that people of Asian descent are placed in such high positions in any US presidential campaign, she said.
Chen’s current post as policy director in the Romney campaign signifies that Republicans value ethnic diversity and shows the growing importance of politicians from Asian backgrounds in the party, she said.
Speaking of his Taiwanese roots, Chen, on the sideline of a campaign rally mainly for Asian voters in Tampa, Florida, earlier this week, said that he had enjoyed every trip he ever made to Taiwan.
Taiwan has changed a lot in the past decade, which is really exciting, said Chen, whose parents now live in San Gabriel Valley, California.
Taiwan is an extraordinary place that has a vibrant democracy, he said.
On the observation that many view his China policy as “hawkish,” Chen said China was an important trading partner of the US.
Romney does not intend to start a trade war with China, but neither will the US succumb to China, he said, adding that Romney believes that China should not manipulate its currency, put up trade barriers or infringe on intellectual property rights.
Unless China moves toward such changes, Romney will remain committed to holding China accountable, Chen said.
TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT: A US Air Force KC-135 tanker came less than 1,000 feet of an EVA plane and was warned off by a Taipei air traffic controller, a report said A US aerial refueling aircraft came very close to an EVA Airways jet in the airspace over southern Taiwan, a military aviation news Web site said. A report published by Alert 5 on Tuesday said that automatic dependent surveillance–broadcast (ADS-B) data captured by planfinder.net on Wednesday last week showed a US Air Force KC-135 tanker “coming less than 1,000 feet [305m] vertically with EVA Air flight BR225 as both aircraft crossed path south of Taiwan” that morning. The report included an audio recording of a female controller from the Taipei air traffic control center telling the unidentified aircraft that it was
A US aircraft carrier group led by the USS Theodore Roosevelt has entered the South China Sea to promote “freedom of the seas,” the US military said yesterday, as tensions between China and Taiwan raise concerns in Washington. US Indo-Pacific Command said in a statement that the strike group entered the South China Sea on Saturday, the same day Taiwan reported a large incursion of Chinese bombers and fighter jets into its air defense identification zone near the Pratas Islands (Dongsha Islands, 東沙群島). The US military said the carrier strike group was in the South China Sea, a large part of which
STRATEGIC MISTAKE: Beijing’s deployment of aircraft near Taiwan proves the ‘China threat theory’ that sees it attempting to destabilize the region, an analyst said China on Saturday and yesterday sent a record number of military aircraft into the nation’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ), in what analysts said was an attempt to flex its military might for US President Joe Biden. Thirteen Chinese warplanes flew into Taiwan’s southwestern ADIZ on Saturday and 15 entered yesterday, the highest number observed in a single day this year, the Ministry of National Defense said. On Saturday, eight Xian H-6K bombers, four Shenyang J-16 fighters and a Y-8 anti-submarine aircraft, entered the ADIZ, while yesterday there were two Y-8s, two Su-30s, four J-16s, six J-10 fighters and a Y-8 reconnaissance
DISPOSING MYTHS: A new constitution would better reflect reality, as the current one was drafted ‘in and for China,’ without the consent of Taiwanese, advocates said Independence advocates yesterday launched the Taiwan New Constitution Alliance to promote drafting a new, localized constitution. “This is a historic moment for Taiwan. Drafting a new constitution is the most important task Taiwanese face,” veteran independence advocate Koo Kwang-ming (辜寬敏) said at the inaugural event in Taipei. “Although the Democratic Progressive Party is in power, its authority is based on the Republic of China [ROC] Constitution, which has no connection to Taiwan,” said the 95-year-old Koo, a former presidential adviser. “The historic task of drafting a new constitution depends on efforts by all Taiwanese,” Koo said. “A constitution for a sovereign, independent Taiwan