There are three Chinese Americans who have been selected by President Obama to serve in his Cabinet, besides Steven Chu, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist who was Obama’s pick for Energy Secretary, there is Christopher Lu and Christina Tchen.

There are three Chinese Americans who have been selected by President Obama to serve in his Cabinet, besides Steven Chu, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist who was Obama’s pick for Energy Secretary, there is Christopher Lu and Christina Tchen.

Chris Lu, Cabinet Secretary

Christopher P. Lu has worked for President-elect Obama in a number of roles over the past four years. He was Legislative Director and Acting Chief of Staff in Obama’s Senate office, as well as a policy advisor during the presidential campaign. Chris is now the Executive Director of the Obama-Biden Transition Project, where he manages the day-to-day operations of the transition. From 1997 to 2005, he was Deputy Chief Counsel to Rep. Henry A. Waxman on the Democratic staff of the House Government Reform Committee (now the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee). A graduate of Princeton University and Harvard Law School, Chris was a litigation attorney at Sidley Austin in Washington, D.C. (1992-1997), after a clerkship with the Honorable Robert E. Cowen of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit (1991-1992).

Christina M. Tchen, Director of Public Liaison

Tchen has broad litigation experience at all levels of the state and federal courts. She has represented companies, officers and directors in shareholder class and derivative actions, and she has also handled a wide range of commercial, intellectual property and employment-related litigation. Tchen also has represented public agencies in state and federal class actions, including the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, the Illinois Department of Public Aid and the Chicago Housing Authority. She serves on the board of the Chicago Bar Foundation; she is also Chair of the Board of Field Foundation of Illinois and a member of the Board of Trustees of the Chicago Public Library and the Board of the Chinese American Service League. She has served on the Judicial Nominations Commission for the Northern District of Illinois and she has been appointed to several leadership positions with the American Bar Association Section of Litigation.
Tchen is the recipient of many awards, including the Leadership Award from the Women’s Bar Association of Illinois (1999); “Women of Achievement” award from the Anti-Defamation League (1996); and Chicago Lawyer “Person of the Year” (1994). She was selected for inclusion in Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business 2008 and The Best Lawyers in America 2009. She also was selected as one of the top three women business lawyers in Illinois by the Leading Lawyers Network 2007.

Other Asian Americans in the Obama Administration

President Obama has also selected other Asian Americans to serve in his administration. 

Eugene Kang, a Korean American, is Special Assistant to the President. Kang ran unsuccessfully for a City Council seat in Ann Arbor, MI in 2005 at the age of 21. He worked for Amy Klobuchar’s 2006 campaign.  During the Obama campaign Kang worked on Obama's outreach programs to Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

Semonti Mustaphi, a Minnesota native and graduate of Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minnesota, has been selected Deputy Press Secretary for the First Lady.  She worked with Michelle Obama during the campaign and transition.  Mustaphi has also worked with Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar and the late Sen. Paul Wellstone.

Pete Rouse, a Japanese American who was Obama’s Senate chief of staff, will be a Senior Advisor in the Obama White House.  Rouse was formerly Sen. Tom Daschle’s (D-SD) chief of staff and served as co-chair of the Obama-Biden Transition Project. 

Eric Shinseki, a Japanese American, four-star general and 38-year army veteran, as Secretary of Veterans’ Affairs.  Shinseki served as the Chief of Staff of the Army.

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