Center for 1776

Center Vision

America’s Founding Fathers recognized that “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights …” Sadly today, academic elites and demagogues challenge this self-evident proposition, choosing instead to embrace identity politics, division, and submission. The America First Policy Institute (AFPI) will work to affirm and celebrate America — not as an aesthetic act, but as a moral statement. Our work aims to promulgate American values in our educational institutions and through our Nation’s citizens — not as a look back at the past, but as the foundation of our future.

As we approach the 250th anniversary of our country’s founding, we find ourselves at a crossroads. Our Nation is more polarized than ever before, and American patriotism and the values that founded the greatest political experiment of all time are under attack. The America First Policy Institute (AFPI) will disseminate the truth about the American founding into our Nation’s schools and homes to restore national unity and pride through a renewed understanding of our founding.

POLICY PRIORITIES

The AFPI Center for 1776 will advance policies that aid parents, citizens, educators, officeholders, and leaders in their efforts to ensure that Americans know and celebrate the true, accurate, and full American story. The ideals upon which the Nation was founded are the ideas that animate our work. Our efforts include — 

  • Advocating for and executing the implementation of patriotic education in our schools.
  • Developing model legislation and policies focused on promoting patriotic curriculum and blocking divisive concepts like Critical Race Theory that state legislators can consider implementing.
  • Driving transparency on the curriculum in our schools.
  • Educating parents, school officials, and legislators.
  • Educating America’s educators.
James Baehr Senior Fellow, Center for 1776

James Baehr grew up in Atlanta, Georgia, but currently resides in New Orleans, Louisiana, and serves as AFPI’s Senior Fellow for the Center for 1776. He previously served as a Special Assistant to the President in the Domestic Policy Council (DPC) in the White House, where he coordinated and oversaw DPC’s policy portfolio across a number of agencies and issues, including the Department of Veterans Affairs, Department of Defense, and Department of Justice. Baehr serves as a Major in the Marine Corps Reserves, where he drills as the Reserve Regional Defense Counsel-East Coast and previously drilled as a Civil Team Commander with the 4th Civil Affairs Group. Previously, Baehr was a federal prosecutor at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in New Orleans and an active-duty Marine judge advocate defense counsel at Camp Pendleton. Baehr received his Juris Doctor and master’s degree in History from the University of Virginia in 2008 and graduated from Dartmouth College with honors in History and Government in 2005. In his free time, Baehr enjoys writing war poetry and playing too much speed chess.

“Boldness, be my friend; arm me, audacity, from head to foot.”

William Shakespeare

Jack Brewer Chair, Center for Opportunity Now and Vice-Chair, Center for 1776

Jack Brewer was raised in Grapevine, Texas, and serves as the Chair of the Center for Opportunity Now, and Vice-Chair of the Center for 1776 at AFPI. Recently, Brewer was an Advisory Board Member of Black Voices for Trump. In 2004, he started his own firm, the Brewer Group, where he serves as Chief Executive Officer and Portfolio Manager. His global charity efforts have delivered millions in emergency aid and currently provide programs to thousands living in extreme poverty.  He is a White House appointee on the Congressional Commission for the Social Status of Black Men and Boys, and is currently a Professor at Fordham Gabelli School of Business, where he has created curriculum tailored for transitioning athletes and prisoners. Brewer was a team captain for the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings, New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles. Brewer attended Southern Methodist University where he was a two-sport athlete, breaking the Disney World Classic record in triple jump, and was an All-American candidate as a wide receiver in football. He later transferred to the University of Minnesota, where he continued as an All-Big Ten athlete in track and football and served as the team captain. He earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Minnesota by the age of 22. Brewer resides in Florida with his wife, Cortney, and has four children: Jared, Laesha, Jackson, and Zayah.

“If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.”

Luke 9:23

Governor Phil Bryant Senior Advisor

Governor Bryant is originally from Mississippi and serves as a Senior Advisor at AFPI. He is a founding member of Bryant Songy Snell Global Partners, where he provides strategic advice and counsel and business development services to some of the world’s largest industry leaders. Governor Bryant served two terms as Mississippi’s 64th governor from 2012 to 2020 prior to opening his consulting firm. He also served as Mississippi’s lieutenant governor, as state auditor, and as a legislator in the Mississippi House of Representatives. While serving as governor, Bryant largely centered his efforts on creating new economic opportunities, among other things. Under Governor Bryant’s leadership, Mississippi saw its lowest-ever unemployment rate, its lowest-ever high school dropout rate, its lowest-ever teen pregnancy rate, its highest-ever number of jobs, its highest-ever number of graduating physicians, its highest-ever K-12 reading and math improvement scores, and its highest-ever high school graduation rate. Governor Bryant served as Chairman of the Education Commission of the States; Chairman of the Southern States Energy Board; Chairman of Jobs for America’s Graduates; and Chairman of the Royal Commonwealth Society of the United States. A Moorhead native and former deputy sheriff, he earned his bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Southern Mississippi and a master’s degree in Political Science from Mississippi College, where he also received an Honorary Doctorate of Laws Degree. Before being elected governor, he served as an adjunct professor of government at Mississippi College. Governor Bryant resides in Hazlehurst, Mississippi with his wife Deborah. They have two children and three grandchildren.

Alexandra Caro Campana Director of Stewardship and Policy Analyst, Center for 1776

Alexandra Caro Campana is from Fort Collins, Colorado, and serves as AFPI’s Director of Stewardship and as a Policy Analyst in the Center for 1776. Campana most recently served three years in the White House under President Donald Trump, first at the Office of Management and Budget and later at the Domestic Policy Council (DPC). She led space policy and child welfare policy for DPC and helped coordinate various activities of the DPC team. She also acted as the liaison between DPC and the Office of the First Lady’s policy team and frequently helped coordinate policy rollouts for the two teams. Campana attended Pepperdine University, where she ran track and cross country and received a degree in Economics. She later earned master’s degrees in Political Economy from both Georgetown University and Solvay Brussels School of Economics and Management. Campana has not stepped foot on a track since college but now enjoys running half marathons in different countries around the world.

““Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.””

RONALD REAGAN

Jerry C. Davis, Ph.D. Senior Advisor, Center for 1776

Jerry C. Davis, Ph.D. is from Hartwell, Georgia, and serves as a Senior Advisor for AFPI’s Center for 1776. He also serves as President of the College of the Ozarks. His tenure in the college presidency is among the longest in the United States. After graduating from the Mount Berry School for Boys in Mount Berry, Georgia, Davis attended Truett-McConnell University, received a bachelor’s degree from Mars Hill University, an master’s degree from the University of Tennessee, and a Ph.D. from Ohio State University. He is the recipient of the prestigious Eisenhower Fellowship, as well as the Missourian Award, one of the state’s highest honors. Davis previously served as the President of the American Association of Presidents of Independent Colleges and Universities. The author of a dozen books, he has led the College of the Ozarks in emphasizing its goal of patriotic education. Additionally, Davis was a presidential appointee to the 1776 Commission. He and the College of the Ozarks have received many recognitions, such as the Above and Beyond Award for support of the Guard and Reserve and the Secretary of Defense Freedom Award. Davis is a recipient of the Lee Greenwood Patriot Award, presented by Helping a Hero. The Council for Advancement and Support of Education awarded Davis with the E. Burr Gibson Lifetime Achievement Award for his significant and lasting impact on the field of institutional advancement.

“Freedom is a fragile thing and it's never more than one generation away from extinction. It is not ours by way of inheritance; it must be fought for and defended constantly by each generation, for it comes only once to a people.”

Ronald Reagan

Lou Holtz Chair, Center for 1776

Lou Holtz is originally from East Liverpool, Ohio, and serves as the Chair of the Center for 1776 at AFPI. Holtz is considered one of the most successful college football coaches of all time. He earned a Bachelor of Science in History from Kent State in 1959, a Master of Arts in Arts and Education from the University of Iowa in 1961, and has received numerous honorary doctorate degrees. During his time at Kent State, Holtz enrolled in the Army ROTC and later served as an Officer in the United States Army Reserves. He played linebacker at Kent State for two seasons before an injury ended his career. In addition to his extensive career as head football coach for several universities, including Notre Dame, William & Mary, Minnesota, Arkansas, and North Carolina State, he was the head coach of the NFL’s New York Jets. He later was a college football studio analyst on ESPN and is currently in his second year with SiriusXM Radio as a co-host for two sports programs. In 1996, the Holtz Charitable Foundation, Inc., a 501(c)(3) organization, was formed. The Foundation seeks to provide scholarships to trade schools. On Dec. 3, 2020 Lou was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his contributions to our society by President Donald Trump. Holtz is the father of four children, grandparent to nine children, and he currently resides in Orlando, Florida.

Cole Mushegan Policy Analyst, Center for 1776

Cole Mushegan is from Keller, Texas, and serves as a Policy Analyst in the Center for 1776. Previously, Cole interned in the U.S. House of Representatives for Congresswoman Beth Van Duyne (TX-24). He also worked on multiple local and congressional campaigns, including as a field representative for Rep. Van Duyne’s campaign. Mushegan attends Texas Christian University (TCU) where he is majoring in Political Science with a double minor in International Economics and History. At TCU, Cole serves as the President of College Republicans and the Grassroots Director for the Texas Federation of College Republicans. In his free time, Mushegan enjoys playing basketball, practicing archery, and hunting.

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Joshua 1:9

Alexander Wilgocki Policy Analyst, Center for 1776

Alexander Wilgocki is from Schenectady, New York, and serves as a Policy Analyst for AFPI’s Center for 1776. Wilgocki most recently served as a press assistant for Glenn Youngkin’s gubernatorial campaign in the Commonwealth of Virginia and as a Strategic Communications Writer for President Donald Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign. In 2019, he served as a White House Intern in the Office of Speechwriting. Wilgocki graduated from Syracuse University with a bachelor’s degree in International Relations and Political Science. While an undergraduate, Wilgocki traveled to and studied contemporary issues abroad in Central Europe and the Middle East. Through many student organizations on campus, he helped cultivate productive political dialogue, where he spoke as a strong advocate of individual liberty and prioritizing national interests. Proud of both his Polish heritage and our shared history as Americans, Wilgocki tirelessly strives to defend our constitutional rights under threat today, with keen emphasis on the Second Amendment.

“Today, we need a nation of Minutemen, citizens who are not only prepared to take arms, but citizens who regard the preservation of freedom as the basic purpose of their daily lives and who are willing to consciously work and sacrifice for that freedom.”

John F. Kennedy

Join The
Movement