The Summit

February 26 - 27, 2022
Thank you for joining us in Washington, D.C. at the National Press Club for a two-day grassroots summit on conservatism's meaning & the path to a more principled future for our country.


Join us in Washington, DC for a two-day grassroots summit on conservatism's meaning & the path to a more principled future for our country.
Principles First is excited to announce a two-day grassroots summit at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. on February 26-27, 2022 focused on discussing and advancing a more principled politics in the United States. We look forward to bringing together conservative and independent speakers, thought leaders, and grassroots activists for two days of panels, speeches, networking, and substantive discussion about the meaning of conservatism today and the future of our movement.

The 2022 Summit will build on the success of our 2020 Summit, which convened over 300 principled Americans from 30 states, also at the National Press Club. The speakers lined up for this gathering will be some of the leading thinkers in the principled lane and many of our #PrinciplesFirst grassroots activists from around the country are planning to travel in for the event. It will be the first time since the 2020 election and the onset of COVID that the principled movement has gathered in one place.

Event Partners

Our success relies on the support of our partners committed to rediscovering conservative principles.

The Bulwark is a news network launched in 2018 dedicated to providing political analysis and reporting free from the constraints of partisan loyalties or tribal prejudices.
A home for Americans who put Country before Party and are tired of the poisonous extremism that has overtaken our politics.
Growing a community of Americans empowered to lead with truth, reject extremism and misinformation, and defend democracy.
Republican Accountability Project, formerly Republican Voters Against Trump is a political initiative launched in May 2020 by Defending Democracy Together for the 2020 U.S. presidential election cycle

Why Attend

Principles First is a grassroots effort to rediscover and champion principles in the 21st century.




Hear Principled Voices

​The strength of our republic depends upon the moral conviction of our elected officials. If we don't pick trustworthy people to lead us, they will bring the character of the country down with them. Unethical and immoral behavior can never become the norm.


Meet Fellow Activists

Principles First is about real-world organizing and action. Many of our grassroots activists, from a network of 10,000 and counting, from around the country are planning to travel in for the event. Not all can make the trip but all feel the same way.


Get Inspired

We can make a difference by standing up for ideas that solve problems and improve lives. We choose action – to lay out our beliefs and engage rather than passively accept the status quo. The Constitution places a duty on all of us in shaping the course of our government.


Refaffirm Our Values

Our principles anchor our politics to core values and ensure that those we elect wield power by a blueprint larger than themselves. Our principles define who we are, what we believe in, and the type of country we'll become. That's why we choose to put principles before politicians and before party.


Champion American Ideals

We love America's ideals, traditions, aspirations, complex history and the never-ending pursuit of a more perfect Union. Our patriotism is rooted in appreciation, not for a particular version of American culture or an ancestral lineage, but for our shared commitment to freedom.


This Summit brings together principled conservative thinkers and grassroots activists from across the country over two weekend days to discuss current challenges facing the United States and the conservative movement and to articulate the principles that ought to shape both.

Principles of Justice: The Constitution and the Rule of Law

  • Is our Constitution in peril? How do we ensure the Constitution remains elevated above political modes of the day?
  • What are the virtues of the rule of law? Is the rule of law political? How does it erode?
  • Should the DOJ be independent or political? Why?
  • How does the law protect against official corruption? Who enforces it? When?

Principles & the Pulpit: The Future of Faith in America

  • Is faith relevant to the problems our country faces today? Why or why not?
  • Why have people of faith lost credibility in the eyes of Americans? How can that credibility be repaired?
  • Separation of church and state is a key American principle. How do we protect it?

Principled Leadership and National Security in the 21st Century

  • Recent campaigns have created a broad consensus for isolationism – for "nation-building at home." What are the limits and risks of this foreign policy?
  • What is globalization? What are its benefits and risks?
  • Which big principles should steer America's foreign policy today, particularly in response to Russia, North Korea, China, and Iran?

Equality & Opportunity: Principles that Serve People

  • How do we account for inequality of opportunity among Americans born into different circumstances (e.g., race, family income, education access, family stability, etc.)?
  • How should government policy create opportunity?
  • What is equality today and how do we achieve it?

Principles of Public Finance: What Does 'Fiscal Conservatism' Mean?

  • What is a principled approach to government spending? What is the process and what are the common myths?
  • Should we rethink our approach to taxes in light of the massive national debt and sustained deficits?
  • Do deficits and debt matter? Why?
  • How do we combat inflation? Should we?

Profiles in Courage: Putting Country Before Self

  • This panel will feature the firsthand accounts of those who have taken principled stands in official capacities in recent years.
  • What did it take? How did you deal with the blowback?
  • Did it make a difference? Did you change hearts and minds? How?

Defending Democracy: Principles of Protecting Elections

  • What is a principled approach to electoral reform?
  • What's the truth about "election integrity" vs. "voter suppression"? Which reforms are actually needed?
  • How can we harden our elections against foreign interference and bad actors?

Building a Principled Coalition

  • Who is currently part of the Principles First political coalition?
  • How do we welcome new voices into the principled fold?
  • Identity politics and class warfare have driven the country further apart. How will principles bring us together?

The Practical Politics of Principle: Should We Stay or Should We Go?

  • Does starting a new party make sense? Why or why not?
  • How can we advance our principles outside of the party structures? And within the current party structures? Is one way better than the other?
  • Should we try to retake the GOP? Is there an opening? Should we vote in Republican or Democratic primaries?
  • What can we learn from previously successful grassroots political movements on both sides of the aisle, like the Tea Party and Occupy Democrats?

Principles for a New Era: Technology, Progress, and Freedom

  • Everybody seems to want to "break up Big Tech" these days – is that wise? Is it principled? What are the antitrust arguments for and against?
  • How can government keep up with increasingly rapid pace of innovation. What values are we losing as technology becomes more pervasive? Which values should we strive to preserve?
  • How does innovation today differ, if at all, from innovation waves of the past and should our regulatory approach change?

Looking Ahead: Conservatism, Liberalism, and Illiberal Threats

  • Is conservatism dead? Should it be resurrected or discarded for "classical liberalism"? Or something else?
  • Why are illiberal, anti-American ideas so politically persuasive these days? How can we push back?
  • Are intellectual consistency and ideology important in politics? Or is it just a hodgepodge of policies cobbled together to win enough votes?

Download Full Schedule

Download PDF of the Agenda


The speakers lined up for this gathering will be some of the leading thinkers in the principled lane. To maintain the theme and integrity of the event, our speakers are appearing with no honorariums or reimbursement.

Liz Cheney serves as Wyoming’s lone member of Congress in the U.S. House of Representatives. She was first elected in 2016 on a platform of restoring America’s strength and power in the world.

Rep. Liz Cheney

United States Congress, WY
Adam D. Kinzinger is currently serving his sixth term in the United States House of Representatives and proudly represents Illinois' Sixteenth Congressional District, which stretches across 14 counties in Northern Illinois.

Rep. Adam Kinzinger

United States Congress, IL-16
Denver Lee Riggleman III is an American businessman and politician from the Commonwealth of Virginia who served as the United States Representative for Virginia's 5th congressional district

Denver Riggleman

United States Congress, VA-5

 Barbara Comstock was elected to Congress in 2014, and served two terms representing Virginia's Tenth Congressional District, making her the first woman elected to that seat. She was named as one of the "Top Ten Most Effective Lawmakers" in the 1110th Congress by the Center for Effective Lawmaking, a joint effort of the University of Virginia and Vanderbilt University.

Barbara Comstock

United States Congress - VA-10
Joe Walsh, Former Congressman - Illinois' 8th District

Joe Walsh

United States Congress - IL-8
Stephen Richer (Republican Party) is the Maricopa County Recorder in Arizona. He assumed office on January 1, 2021. His current term ends on January 1, 2025.

Stephen Richer

Maricopa County, Arizona
Alexander S. Vindman, Former Director for European Affairs - United States National Security Council

Alexander S. Vindman

U.S. National Security Council
Bill Kristol, Editor-at-Large - The Bulwark

Bill Kristol

The Bulwark
Sarah Longwell is the President and CEO of Longwell Partners, a full-service communications firm in Washington, D.C.

Sarah Longwell

The Bulwark
Mona Charen is a syndicated columnist and political analyst living in the Washington, D.C., area.

Mona Charen

The Bulwark
Charlie Sykes is a founder and editor-at-large of The Bulwark, host of The Bulwark Podcast, and an NBC/ MSNBC contributor.

Charlie Sykes

The Bulwark
Heath Mayo is an Associate in Wachtell Lipton's Corporate Department.

Heath Mayo

Principles First
Officer Harry Dunn, Police Officer - United States Capitol Police

Officer Harry Dunn

United States Capitol Police
David Frum is a staff writer at The Atlantic and the author of Trumpocalypse: Restoring American Democracy (2020). In 2001 and 2002, he was a speechwriter for President George W. Bush.

David Frum

The Atlantic
Robert Buschman serves as associate director for the Fiscal Research Center (FRC) and is a senior research associate with the Center for State and Local Finance.

Robert Buschman

Georgia State University
Jonathan Bydlak is director of the Governance Program at the R Street Institute. He also oversees the Fiscal and Budget Policy project and the Legislative Branch Capacity Working Group.

Jonathan Bydlak

R Street Institute
Patrick Chovanec, CPA is an economic advisor. He also teaches part-time as an Adjunct Professor at Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA)

Patrick Chovanec

Private Sector
Mindy Finn is an American digital media expert, political and technology consultant, and entrepreneur.

Mindy Finn

Citizen Data
Reed is the Director of Communications at the Institute of Politics and Public Service, overseeing communication strategy, press relations, brand management, and digital and social media.

Reed Howard

Georgetown University
Shay Khatiri is a policy associate at the Renew Democracy Initiative, founded by Garry Kasparov, and a foreign policy writer for The Bulwark.

Shay Khatiri

Renew Democracy Initiative
Napp Nazworth is Executive Director of American Values Coalition, a non-profit combating right-wing media extremism and misinformation. He previously worked in academia and journalism.

Napp Nazworth

American Values Coalition
Sophia A. Nelson is an award-winning American author and journalist.

Sophia Nelson

USA Today
Elizabeth Neumann, Former Deputy Chief of Staff - United States Department of Homeland Security

Elizabeth Neumann

Republican Accountability Project
Tom Nichols is a contributing writer at The Atlantic and the author of its newsletter Peacefield.

Tom Nichols

The Atlantic
Alex Nowrasteh is the director of economic and social policy studies. His popular publications have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, the Washington Post, and most other major publications in the United States.

Alex Nowrasteh

Cato Institute
A lawyer and public policy professional, Gregg is a passionately independent conservative voice who frequently provides legal and political commentary in a variety of national media outlets.

Gregg Nunziata

Rock Spring Public Policy
Walter Olson is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute’s Robert A. Levy Center for Constitutional Studies and is known for his writing on law, public policy, and regulation.

Walter Olson

Cato Institute
Republican National Committeeman for NJ and partner at McCarter & English

Bill Palatucci

Republican National Committee
James Pethokoukis, Senior Fellow; Editor, AEIdeas Blog; and DeWitt Wallace Chair - American Enterprise Institute

James Pethokoukis

American Enterprise Institute
Sarah works for a non-profit on behalf of free speech and peace and also serves as social media manager for Women’s Public Leadership Network (WPLN), a non-profit dedicated to inspiring, educating, and electing more center-right women.

Sarah Quinlan

First Amendment Non-Profit
Rob Richie has been the leader of FairVote since co-founding the organization in 1992 and was named president and CEO in 2018

Rob Richie

Kori Schake is a senior fellow and the director of foreign and defense policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI).

Kori Schake

American Enterprise Institute
Rina Shah is a DC-based political advisor, commentator, and social entrepreneur.

Rina Shah

Renew Democracy Initiative
Andy Smarick is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, where his work focuses on education, civil society, and the principles of American conservatism.

Andy Smarick

Manhattan Institute
Michael R. Strain is a senior fellow and the director of foreign and defense policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI).

Michael R. Strain

American Enterprise Institute
Miles Taylor, Co-Founder - Renew America Movement

Miles Taylor

Renew America Movement
Dave Thul, Host Committee - Principles First

Dave Thul

Principles First
Olivia Troye, Chief Strategy Officer - Renew America Movement

Olivia Troye

Renew America Movement

 Jason Villalba is a former member of the Texas House of Representative.

Jason Villalba

Texas Hispanic Policy Foundation
James Wallner, Senior Fellow - R Street Institute

James Wallner

R Street Institute
Shoshana Weissmann manages R Street's social media, email marketing and other digital assets.

Shoshana Weissmann

R Street Institute

 Peter Wehner is a Senior Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. He is a contributing opinion writer for the New York Times and a contributing editor for The Atlantic magazine.

Peter Wehner

Ethics and Public Policy Center
Benjamin Wittes, Senior Fellow - Governance Studies - The Brookings Institution

Benjamin Wittes

The Brookings Institution
Cathy Young, Associate Editor - Arc Digital

Cathy Young

Arc Digital

Cost To Attend

We are only charging each attendee a small fee to ensure attendance and defray costs of the event.



$ 35.00

For the Entire Conference

  • Access to the full two days of the conference
  • Access to the Speakers
  • Post-Conference Happy Hour Invite


Other gatherings cost hundreds of dollars to attend and line the pockets of their organizers. The Summit is different.

Venue Location and Hotel Information

The National Press Club - Since 1908, the Club has been Washington's home for news, business and social events in the nation's capital, hosting more than 2,000 public and private events annually featuring global leaders in media, business, politics, sports and entertainment.


Address - 529 14th Street NW, Washington, DC 20045


Safety Guidelines for the National Press Club - Attendees are encouraged to upload a photo of their Vaccination Card to All attendees and their guests must have proof of vaccination for entry. Exceptions for religious or health reasons should show a recent negative COVID test. Please visit the National Press Club's website for detailed information on their safety and security protocols.


Hotel Logistics

Discounts for Principles First Summit Attendees: To assist the many of you who are coming from outside the Washington, D.C. area, we have pulled together pre-negotiated hotel discount rates with Washington, D.C. area hotels. This is only for your convenience. There is not a particular need to stay at these specific hotels - as all of official Summit programming will take place at the National Press Club.


Note: Attendees are responsible for booking their own hotel accommodations, with special room blocks available from February 25-28, 2022.


We have negotiated room rates with the J. W. Marriott Washington, D.C. ($219/night), the Crystal Gateway Marriott ($219/night), the Willard InterContinental ($239/night), and Hampton Inn Washington, D.C ($159/night).


Please visit the hotel logistics page for details and relevant hotel group conference codes.


Hampton Inn Washington, D.C. / White House
Crystal Gateway Marriott
J. W. Marriott Washington, D.C.
Willard InterContinental



If you're a member of the media and want to attend this event to cover it, please email [media at principlesfirstsummit dot us] to get in touch with the event organizers. Note on Friday February 25, 2022. If you are media and still considering attending, all media is welcome, just show up, we will create credentials at the door.