Francis P. Cannon – President

Francis Cannon is the President of American Principles Project and co-author of the report “Building a Winning GOP Coalition: The Lessons of 2012″.

For over 30 years, Francis Cannon has worked in the public policy arena. Past and current clients include the trafficking office of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (for which his firm was awarded the Silver Anvil by the Public Relations Society of America and the Silver SABRE by PRWeek), the Knights of Columbus, American Principles in Action, the National Organization for Marriage, and the Susan B. Anthony List, as well as several national campaigns, members of Congress, major grassroots organizations, and non-profit organizations. Mr. Cannon is a graduate of Dartmouth College.

Terry Schilling – Executive Director

Terry Schilling is the Executive Director of American Principles Project. Terry is a native of Geneseo, Illinois and a graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville, where he studied political science. Terry is responsible for developing and implementing the organization’s political strategy at both the state and federal level.

In the past, Terry has worked in communications, development, grassroots, and management positions with Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), Sen. Sam Brownback, various state and local candidates. Before joining the team at APP, Terry managed his father’s race for Congress in Illinois. Running against a 30-year entrenched incumbent on a shoe-string budget in 2010, Terry led the Bobby Schilling for Congress campaign to a 10 point victory. During college, Terry served as vice president of his student government association and as the director of grassroots operations for the College Republicans.

Jeff Bell – Policy Director

Jeff Bell is policy director of the American Principles Project.

In 1978 and 2014, Bell was the Republican nominee for the U. S. Senate in New Jersey. His distinguished career in public policy has spanned several decades, during which time he has served as president of Lehrman Bell Mueller Cannon and as a principal of Capital City Partners, assisting clients advocating the Bush tax cuts of 2001-2003, the President’s faith-based initiative, and immigration reform. Bell has also served on national campaigns for Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and Jack Kemp, and was responsible for developing former Governor Reagan’s first proposals for Federal tax and budget reduction in 1975.

A graduate of Columbia and a veteran of the U.S. Army in Vietnam, Bell has served as a fellow of the Kennedy Institute of Politics at Harvard, visiting professor at the Eagleton Institute at Rutgers, DeWitt Wallace Fellow in Communications at the American Enterprise Institute, and visiting fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. He has written articles for many publications, most recently The Weekly Standard, The Wall Street Journal, and National Review. He is author of Populism and Elitism: Politics in the Age of Equality and The Case for Polarized Politics: Why America Needs Social Conservatism.

Bell and his wife, Rosalie O’Connell, have been married since 1983 and have a daughter and three sons.

Alfonso Aguilar – Executive Director, Latino Partnership

Alfonso Aguilar is the Executive Director of APP’s Latino Partnership. He is the former Chief of the U.S. Office of Citizenship under President George W. Bush. Before joining the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in 2003, he served in numerous high-level government positions in the Bush Administration and the government of Puerto Rico.

Aguilar has a B.A. from the University of Notre Dame and a J.D. from the University of Puerto Rico. He writes a bi-monthly Op-Ed column for the daily La Opinion of Los Angeles, CA and frequently appears as a guest policy analyst in many radio and TV shows across the country.

Emmett McGroarty – Executive Director, APP Education

Emmett McGroarty is director of APP Education and leads its initiative to defend parental rights and to fight attempts to exclude parents from having a say in what their children learn and who teaches it to them.

Emmett and his colleague, Jane Robbins, authored the primer, Controlling Education from the Top: Why Common Core Is Bad for America, co-published by American Principles Project, Pioneer Institute, Pacific Research Institute, and Washington Policy Center.  He is a co-founder of, a nationwide network of individuals and organizations that sheds light on the Common Core system.  His written works have been published in, among others, BreitbartCatholic Vote, Crisis Magazine, New York Post, Public Discourse, The Examiner, and USA Today. Emmett has testified before several state legislatures and has been a guest on shows such as Breitbart News Sunday with Greg Bannon, the Daily Run Down with Chuck Todd, Fox News, the Glenn Beck Program, Laura Ingraham, Lars Larson, The Hugh Hewitt Show, and The Steve Deace Show.  Emmett is a graduate of Fordham School of Law and Georgetown University.

Kate Bryan – Director of Communications

Kate Bryan is the Director of Communications for American Principles Project.  Kate holds a Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts/Theology from Franciscan University of Steubenville, and a Master’s degree in Public Affairs and Political Communication from the Dublin Institute of Technology in Dublin, Ireland. Kate previously worked for Senator Ronan Mullen in Seanad Eireann in Ireland, and served as the Research Director of the Life Institute in Dublin. Prior to APIA, Kate was the Director of Communications and Programs at Live Action in Washington, D.C. Kate has engaged in political activism throughout Europe, Canada, and the United States. She writes for numerous publications covering politics and culture— including Acculturated, Breitbart, Catholic News Agency, and Catholic Vote.

Maggie Gallagher – Senior Fellow

Maggie Gallagher is a senior fellow at APP and an author of the latest APIA report, “Building a Winning GOP Coalition: The Lessons of 2012”. She has been a thought leader on life, religious liberty, and especially marriage, for over 25 years.

Maggie is the author of four books on marriage, including “The Case for Marriage” with University of Chicago Prof. Linda J. Waite; and her latest book “Debating Same-sex Marriage” (co-authored with Prof. John Corvino). After founding and running a think-tank on marriage (the Institute for Marriage and Public Policy), Maggie went on to co-found the National Organization for Marriage in 2007, which the Washington Post called the “pre-eminent organization” fighting the imposition of same-sex marriage. Her Weekly Standard piece “Banned in Boston” launched a national debate over the religious liberty consequences of same-sex marriage.

Jane Robbins – Senior Fellow

Jane Robbins is an attorney and a senior fellow with the American Principles Project in Washington, DC. In that position she has crafted federal and state legislation designed to restore the constitutional autonomy of states and parents in education policy, and to protect the rights of religious freedom and conscience. Her essays on these topics have been published in various print and online media. With Emmett McGroarty she co-authored the APP/Pioneer Institute report, Controlling Education From the Top: Why Common Core Is Bad for America. She has published numerous articles about the problems with Common Core, including those of intrusive data-collection and threats to student privacy, and has testified about these issues before the legislatures of nine states. She is a graduate of Clemson University and the Harvard Law School.

Steve Lonegan – Director of Monetary Policy

Steve Lonegan is widely considered one of the nation’s best policy debaters and as such has received extensive exposure on television and radio. He has dedicated his time in public life to fighting for taxpayers. 

In 2006, Steve joined the Americans for Prosperity Foundation as state director of the New Jersey chapter where he continued to fight for taxpayers and achieved a number of successes. Prior to becoming Americans for Prosperity New Jersey state director, Steve built and managed retail, custom home building and manufacturing businesses, employing dozens of workers.  He also served as mayor of Bogota, NJ for twelve years. 

On August 1, 2014, Steve took the helm as Director of Monetary Policy for the American Principles Project. As the head of the Fix the Dollar project, he is charged with the responsibility of building national grassroots support for sound monetary policy and restoring the Gold Standard.

Sue Ann Penna – National Field Director, Fix The Dollar

Sue Ann Penna is National Field Director for Fix The Dollar. Sue Ann started her work in grassroots activism in 2009, which led to her forming the organization Citizens for Limited Government, which focuses on educating on issues and promoting participation in the political process. Citizens for Limited Government produces an online radio show called “Common Sense,” which can be heard on BlogTalkRadio and discusses the limited government, free market solutions to issues facing our nation. She has served as Regional Field Director and Regional Finance Director for the Lonegan for Senate campaign and also as the Campaign Manager for Sheri Few for Education Superintendent in South Carolina. She also is co-host of “The Jersey Joe Show,” which airs in the NYC market on AM970 The Answer.

Michael Henry – Development Associate

Mike Henry is a development associate for American Principles Project. He is a graduate of Pennsylvania State University, where he studied marketing and public relations. Prior to joining APP, Mike was the Northeast Regional Coordinator for Heritage Action, covering Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and Maryland.  During the 2012 presidential cycle, he ran a local outreach campaign as an intern for American Majority Action in southeastern Pennsylvania. During the campaign, he worked closely with local tea party groups to organize their canvassing efforts. He is a native of Media, Pennsylvania.

Jon Schweppe – Deputy Director of Communications

Jon Schweppe is the Deputy Director of Communications for American Principles Project. Jon graduated from Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois, where he studied Economics and Business. Prior to joining American Principles Project, Jon worked on three political campaigns for Rep. Bobby Schilling as his communications director and deputy campaign manager. Jon also co-founded the Young Republicans of Rock Island County, a youth-oriented grassroots organization that works tirelessly to elect conservative candidates in western Illinois.

Paul Dupont – Legislative Assistant

Paul Dupont has been a part of the APP team since the spring of 2013, first as an intern and then joining the organization full-time, as a Legislative Assistant. Prior to APP, Dupont was a fellow at the John Jay Institute, and an intern at The Heritage Foundation. He also interned at Senator Pat Toomey’s Philadelphia regional office. Paul coordinates the intern program for APP, and provides operational and research support. Paul is a graduate of Villanova University, where he received a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and Humanities.

Nick Arnold – Senior Researcher

Nick Arnold is the Senior Researcher at APP. Nick manages website content for APP, and also performs legislative research and outreach for APP’s Education, Economics, and Latino Partnership projects.  Prior to working at APP, he interned with Transecur Inc. as a regional analyst. Nick holds a Bachelors degree from Old Dominion in Political Science, and a Masters degree in Political Management at George Washington University.

Ralph Benko – Senior Economic Advisor

Ralph Benko serves as the senior advisor in economic policy at APP.

Under the George W. Bush presidential administration, Ralph worked closely with the White House Office for Faith-based and Community Initiatives, in support of leading White House domestic policy. He went on to work under the auspices of the United States Department of Health and Human Services Operation Rescue and Restore, as a principal community organizer in seven regions, in which he sought to identify and assist in the rescue of human trafficking victims in the U.S.

In the early 1980s, Ralph served as Chairman of New York’s 23rd Congressional District Chapter of Citizens for America, under the national chairmanship of Lewis E. Lehrman. Thereafter, he served as an attorney-advisor for the United States Department of Energy for synthetic and renewable energy and served on detail as a deputy general counsel to a White House conference, and a presidential commission, under President Reagan.   In 1986, Ralph founded The Prosperity Caucus, a monthly meeting of free market economists and policy makers that continues as a unique and respected informal symposium. He also testified before the United States Gold Commission in 1981 on the constitutional history of American monetary policy.  And then went on to publish on that subject, and has remained actively interested in all areas of economic growth policy ever since.

Ralph is a frequent contributor of editorial features to Forbes Opinions, The Washington Examiner, ConservativeHQ, and has been published by, Townhall, Daily Caller, and the American Thinker.

Shane Vander Hart – Online Communications Manager

Shane Vander Hart serves as the Online Communications Director of APP Education.  He is also a frequent contributor for

Shane is also the Editor-in-Chief for, a popular Christian conservative blog. He has been involved in youth ministry since 1992 in church, para-church, and Christian school settings, and currently works with juvenile offenders in the Des Moines, Iowa Metro area. He has also been an interim pastor for a local Evangelical Free Church and provides pulpit supply for area churches. Mr. Vander Hart has been a member of the Polk County Republican Central Committee since 2006 and has served on their publicity and communication team. He has recently been recognized by Campaigns & Elections Magazine as one of the top political influencers in Iowa.