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 in Washington, D.C.

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. In addition to his role at the Miller Center, Lu is a senior strategy advisor at FiscalNote, a D.C.-based technology company. In 2017, he was appointed to be an at-large member of the Democratic National Committee, where he sits on the Rules and Bylaws Committee. Lu also serves on the boards of the American Sustainable Business Council and AAPI Progressive Action.

Lu is a contributor for TIME and a frequent political commentator on television and radio. He is the co-editor of the book Triumphs and Tragedies of the Modern Congress (2014).

Chris Lu News Feed

Chris Lu, who served as Cabinet secretary under President Barack Obama, told NBC News that part of the problem is that Trump hasn't shown much willingness to let his chiefs of staff, Reince Priebus and Kelly, do their jobs. That includes managing the policy process, limiting the number decisions the president has to make, controlling access and telling him "no" when he needs to hear it.
Chris Lu NBC News
Miller Center Senior Fellow Chris Lu is interviewed on MSNBC about the Mueller investigation
Chris Lu MSNBC
Rev. Al Sharpton sits down with Daniel Goldman, Chris Lu, Shermichael Singleton, Mike Memoli, and Tiffany Cross to discuss the breaking news of the John Kelly leaving the White House at the end of this year.
Chris Lu MSNBC
Larry and Barack Obama's former Deputy Labor Secretary, Chris Lu, discuss the implications and newest developments of the U.S.-China trade war. Plus, the political panel weighs in on Robert Mueller's latest maneuvers in the Russia investigation.
Chris Lu Politicking
Chris Lu, Former U.S. Deputy Secretary of Labor, discusses the legacy of George H.W. Bush’s and how Washington has changed since the days of his presidency.
Chris Lu Bloomberg
Senior Fellow Chris Lu is interviewed on MSNBC about the death of President George H.W. Bush
Chris Lu MSNBC