Cornerstone Team

Tony Essalih

Tony Essalih joined Cornerstone in 2011 as a co-lead of the firm’s flagship Texas office in Houston.  He is a 12-year veteran of Capitol Hill and comes to Cornerstone from the office of Congressman John Culberson (R-TX). Tony served Congressman Culberson for 10 years, the last five as his Chief of Staff.  Prior to becoming Chief of Staff, Tony also served as a Legislative Assistant, Legislative Director, Communications Director, and Deputy Chief of Staff for the congressman.  He worked in Washingon DC for eight years before moving to Houston in 2007.  Following the move, Tony traveled frequently between Houston, Washington and Austin.

As Chief of Staff, Tony was responsible for guiding the day-to-day operations of the Congressman’s Washington and Houston offices and oversaw a 14-member staff under a fixed budget.  Outside of the office, he served as the principal liaison to the Congressman’s campaign and provided strategic counsel and advice related to campaign activity.  Tony’s areas of policy expertise include transportation, energy, budget and appropriations.  Tony also led outreach efforts on behalf of the Congressman with key state government decision-makers in Austin and local elected officials in Houston.


Before Culberson’s election in 2001, Tony worked as a Legislative Assistant for his predecessor, former House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Bill Archer.  Tony’s first position on Capitol Hill was with former House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings. 


Tony has advised and assisted numerous local, state, and federal campaigns.  He sits on the Advisory Board for the Houston Technology Center, spent two years on the board of a large Houston hospital and was a member of Mayor Annise Parker’s transition team in 2010.


Tony was born and raised in Fredericksburg, VA and received his B.A. in Political Science from Mary Washington College.  He was a member of Mary Washington’s NCAA semifinalist men’s soccer team.  He lives in Houston  and has two daughters, Grace and Libby.