Tony Dale’s life is one of service to his community, state and the nation. His example is one that should inspire today’s cadets to a life of service both in and out of uniform. Through his entire adult life he has answered the call to active citizenship embodied in Ohio State’s motto, Disciplina in civitatem. In 1987, in his senior year of high school, he achieved the rank of Eagle Scout. Later that fall he enrolled in The Ohio State University. Within two years he was back in uniform as an enlisted US Army Reserve soldier. In 1989 he completed basic training and AIT and returned to Ohio State where he joined ROTC. His 2-year ROTC scholarship helped him complete school.
In 1992 he was commissioned as a Regular Army armor officer and was eventually stationed at Fort Hood. After five years of active duty he left active service with the rank of captain. He began his professional career leading employees in private business. A servant at heart, he volunteered in his community in numerous appointed positions such as his city’s charter review committee and his county’s citizen road bond advisory council. He also helped lead an effort to balance the rapid growth in his Austin-area suburb with concerns about habitat protection for endangered species. His appointed work led him to an elected seat on the Cedar Park City Council (2019 pop. 80,000). He led efforts to lower the city’s debt and reduce the tax burden on local taxpayers.
In 2012 he successfully won a seat in the Texas Legislature where he served for three two-year terms. He remains the first and only Buckeye undergraduate elected to the Texas Legislature. As a legislator he earned a reputation for passing important child protection legislation. He passed laws prohibiting the online solicitation of minors, co-authored landmark reforms for the child protective system and passed strong criminal penalties for inappropriate student/teacher relationships. He passed numerous laws focused on protecting the victims of sexual assault. In 2015 he passed legislation authorizing the Texas Purple Heart Medal to be awarded to the victims of the Nov 5, 2009 terrorist attack at Fort Hood. US Congressman John Carter stated that he believes the pressure of Texas passing such a measure helped with the eventual awarding of federal Purple Heart Medals to the soldiers.
Dale was also a key leader in preventing cuts to a Texas veterans benefit program know as Hazelwood. The Hazelwood program allows Texas veterans to obtain up to 150 college credit hours at no charge. Dale and other veteran legislators helped preserve the program in the face of pending budget cuts. The program remains intact today. His leadership included assignments on the Homeland Security & Public Safety Committee, the House Energy Committee, the Environmental Regulation Committee and the House Select Committee on Cybersecurity. Today he protects critical infrastructure such as power plants, dams, reservoirs and electric transmission lines as Director of Cybersecurity at the Lower Colorado River Authority.