Experts

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

“Williamson will get a couple of minutes to make her case to voters,” said Chris Lu, a former Obama White House Cabinet secretary and DNC superdelegate. “If she can use it to push forward a specific policy agenda that would be an accomplishment.”
Chris Lu CNBC
Chris Lu, the executive director of Obama’s transition team, said he worked closely with the Democratic Party veterans to fill top jobs. And the Obama campaign leadership trusted Lu and his colleagues; meanwhile, the Trump team fired Christie right after the election. Senior campaign leadership — most importantly Jared Kushner — distrusted Christie, a senior transition source said, and therefore distrusted his work.
Chris Lu Axios
Senior Fellow Chris Lu is interviewed on MSNBC.
Chris Lu MSNBC
The departure of acting Defense Department Secretary Patrick Shanahan raises questions about who is advising President Donald Trump, who pulled back a planned military strike on Iran this week, says CQ defense reporter Andrew Clevenger in this episode of the CQ on Congress podcast. And Chris Lu, who served as Barack Obama's liaison to his Cabinet, says Trump's apparent preference for churn among his agency heads gives him more power to direct policy on his own.
Chris Lu Roll Call
It's time to put hard-working Americans first, writes Chris Lu on CNN.
CNN
Senior Fellow Chris Lu is interviewed on MSNBC about the controversy over adding a citizenship question to the U.S. Census.
Chris Lu MSNBC