Lu was born in New Jersey and raised in Maryland. His parents came to the United States from Taiwan as graduate students in the 1960s. Lu grew up...
Lu was born in New Jersey and raised in Maryland. His parents came to the United States from Taiwan as graduate students in the 1960s. Lu grew up listening to the news and reading biographies of famous statesmen with his father, an electrical engineer who loved history. Lu became interested in politics, and has said he was grateful that his parents encouraged him to study whatever interested him. His grandfather, Wang Ren-Yuan, was Taiwan’s Attorney General from 1960 to 1966 and was a representative in the Legislative Yuan.(1)
Lu graduated from Princeton’s Wilson School (his time there overlapped with the future Michelle Obama by one year but they did not know each other) and worked on the Daily Princetonian, eventually as the school paper’s news editor. "I learned to write, to think quickly, to meet deadlines, all at the 'Prince,' " he said. “It was really the best education I ever got.” He stayed involved with the paper and he served on the board of trustees until his work in politics became too much of a time commitment.(2)
Lu went to Harvard Law from 1988 to 1991, the same years as Barack Obama, but said he did not know Obama well. Still, he knew the reputation of the person who was to become the first black president of the Harvard Law Review 20 years before becoming the first black president of the United States. “I have admired his talents for a long time,” Lu said.(1)
After graduating from Harvard Law, Lu clerked for Third Circuit Judge Robert E. Cowen before taking a job in the D.C. office of Sidley Austin, the same firm where Barack and Michelle Obama met in Chicago. Lu also met his future wife at Sidley Austin, but in the D.C. office. He stayed at the firm for four years before deciding to move to Capitol Hill. In 1997, he got a job as deputy chief counsel for the Democratic staff of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, and he worked in that office until 2004. Then he joined Sen. John F. Kerry’s (D-Mass.) presidential campaign as a special adviser for communications.(1)
When Kerry lost, Lu went back to the Hill, this time as the legislative director for Barack Obama.(3) When Obama’s campaign for president began to gain steam in 2006, Lu stayed in the Senate, making sure everything ran smoothly at Obama’s day job and monitoring all of the senator’s legislative decisions.(4) He did some work for the campaign, serving as campaign director for Delaware during the Democratic primary and staying on as an adviser. But his main focus when Congress was in session was to make sure Obama was prepared for his work in the Senate. When Obama won the presidency, he named Lu executive director of the transition team.(5)
Shortly after the election, Obama chose Lu to serve as cabinet secretary in the White House. Lu will work as the president's liaison to the cabinet and federal agencies.(6)