Why He Matters
Chen, who worked with Mitt Romney on his 2008 presidential bid, joined Romney's Free and Strong America PAC as policy director early in 2011. Chen has worked in academia, on campaigns and in the government: "I've always been stuck between two fields-I like academia, but I also like being in D.C. and working on policy," he told the Harvard Crimson in 2007.
Chen grew up in California but decided to study at Harvard University, which landed him on the East Coast. He became active in college Republican politics and after graduation, spent a year in Washington, D.C., as a political consultant. He returned to Cambridge to begin his Ph.D., but kept one foot in the political world. In 2003, Chen was a visiting fellow at The Heritage Foundation, and in 2004, he worked with the Bush-Cheney campaign on domestic policy.