In 2019, principled Americans on the right and center-right who were concerned about the health of American democracy organized a series of meet-ups around the country to serve as an alternative to the Conservative Political Action Conference. Today, that movement has grown into Principles First.

We are a nationwide grassroots movement of people who share a love of American democracy and concern for the direction of our existing conservative leadership. We’ve watched as institutions on the right have been hijacked or co-opted by bad-faith actors willing to put politics and personality over principle. And we’ve seen those in positions of leadership compromise themselves out of cynical self-interest.

We believe good-faith Americans deserve something better.

We’re building an alternative to the partisan doom-loop. Principles First holds an annual Summit in Washington, D.C. to serve as an alternative to CPAC. We convene local chapters to effect change at the community level. We elevate principled leaders around the country. And we speak out as a voice of clarity at a time when cheap partisan tribalism has become the norm.


Photo of Heath Mayo

Heath Mayo

Heath started Principles First in 2019 as a small, grassroots gathering of principled Americans concerned about the direction of the country. Since then, the organization has grown into a nationwide movement with volunteers across the country. Heath is a corporate associate at the law firm Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz and previously was a manager at Bain & Company. He earned his J.D. from Yale Law School, and M.A. and B.A. from Brown University.
Photo of Jeff Carson

Jeff Carson

Chief Operating Officer
Jeff joined Principles First in 2023 as its first full-time staff member and oversees the organization's events, outreach, and programmatic work. Prior to that he was a vice president at Unite America primarily responsible for operations and personnel. He also ran for Congress in Virginia's 8th District and served as a U.S. Army Captain from 2004-2008. He earned his B.S. from Florida State University and M.B.A. from Texas Tech University.