Chris Lu

Fast Facts

  • Deputy secretary of labor in the Obama Administration
  • White House cabinet secretary and assistant to President Obama
  • Executive director, Obama-Biden Transition Project
  • Deputy chief counsel, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee

Areas Of Expertise

  • Domestic Affairs
  • Jobs and Economy
  • Governance
  • Congress
  • Politics
  • The Presidency

Over the course of a 20-year career in public service, Chris Lu, the Teresa A. Sullivan Practitioner Senior Fellow, worked in all three branches of the federal government, including seven years in the Obama Administration. From 2014 to 2017, Lu was the deputy secretary of labor, having been confirmed unanimously by the U.S. Senate. In this role, he served as the chief operating officer of a department with 17,000 employees and a $12 billion budget.

From 2009 to 2013, Lu was the White House cabinet secretary and assistant to the president, serving as the president’s primary liaison to the federal agencies. At the end of the first term, Obama said: “Through his dedication and tireless efforts, Chris has overseen one of the most stable and effective cabinets in history – a cabinet that has produced extraordinary accomplishments over the past four years.” 

The son of immigrants, Lu was only the second Asian American in history to become a deputy secretary of any cabinet department. During the first term of the Obama Administration, he also co-chaired the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

Prior to his service in the executive branch, Lu worked for then-Senator Obama, first as the legislative director, and then as the acting chief of staff. During the 2008 presidential primaries, Lu was tasked by Senator Obama to begin planning for a possible presidential transition. The day after Election Day 2008, Lu became the executive director of the Obama-Biden transition planning efforts.

His government experience includes eight years working for Rep. Henry Waxman as the deputy chief counsel of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, and serving as a law clerk for Judge Robert E. Cowen on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Lu began his legal career as a litigation attorney at Sidley Austin.

Lu is a magna cum laude graduate of Princeton University and cum laude graduate of Harvard Law School. He is the recipient of an honorary doctorate from MacMurray College and the Department of Navy Distinguished Public Service Award.

Lu draws on his extensive political experience as a regular television and radio commentator. He is a Democratic National Committee (DNC) "superdelegate" and sits on the Rules and Bylaws Committee. Lu co-chaired DNC Chairman Tom Perez's transition committee and was a member of Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam's transition committee. He is the co-editor of the book Triumphs and Tragedies of the Modern Congress (2014).

In addition to his role at the Miller Center, Lu is a senior strategy adviser at FiscalNote, a D.C.-based technology company. He is a board member of the American Sustainable Business Council and AAPI Progressive Action.

Chris Lu News Feed

Kirstjen Nielsen's resignation is the 15th departure of a member of Trump's Cabinet in just over two years. This turnover rate is more than double the rate of Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama at this point in an administration.
Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen's ouster just contributed to the the high rate of turnover among Trump's Cabinet. And while public attention to the Trump administration's vacancies has been low, it's a matter that greatly affects the federal government's ability to serve the American people.
Chris Lu USA Today
Rev. Al Sharpton talks with his panel of Chris Lu, Sarah Longwell, Cleve Wootson about the ongoing Democratic 2020 Presidential Race building in size and what that means for the overall 2020 race against President Trump.
Chris Lu MSNBC
“If you were to ask the head of any large organization in government or business, they will tell you organizations flourish when they have a diverse set of opinions,” said Chris Lu, who served as White House Cabinet secretary under former President Obama. “While Trump fashions himself as a businessman, he essentially ran a close family business where his dictates were not questioned in any meaningful way. That may have worked well for him then, but it does not work well when you’re trying to manage the U.S. government.”
Chris Lu The Hill
Senior Fellow Chris Lu is interviewed on MSNBC about the firing of DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.
Chris Lu MSNBC
Senior Fellow Chris Lu is interviewed on MSNBC about Trump's policy reversals
Chris Lu MSNBC