The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

April 25, 2013

Hinton native confirmed as Obama’s budget director


— Without a dissenting vote, the U.S. Senate voted Wednesday to confirm Hinton native Sylvia Mathews Burwell as director of the Office of Budget and Management for the Obama administration.

Two administrations earlier, she was deputy chief of staff under former President Bill Clinton and also served as chief of staff to former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin.

“As Congress works to put our country on course for a strong, economic future, I am so pleased that Sylvia Mathews Burwell will have a prominent seat at the table as director of OMB, helping to steer our budget and economic policy in the right direction,” Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., said.

The vote was 96-0 following her appointment in early March by President Barack Obama.

“Sylvia’s abundant knowledge and budget experience make her the right person to take on our country’s fiscal challenges,” said Rockefeller, who introduced Burwell at her nomination hearing before the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.

Rockefeller said the overwhelming bipartisan support proves that she is capable of overseeing the nation’s spending.

“In addition to her impressive experience, she is humble — sticking to her West Virginia roots — and dedicated to helping those in need,” he said.

“I know she will exceed expectations in her new position.”

A graduate of Harvard and Oxford, and a Rhodes Scholar, she recently served as president of the Wal-Mart Foundation. Before that, the daughter of retired optometrist Williams Matthews and former Hinton Mayor Cleo Mathews anchored the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s Global Development Program.

Cleo Mathews said, “My husband Bill and I have always been incredibly proud of both of our daughters and their commitment to public service. Sylvia’s unanimous confirmation today as director of OMB is a great honor, and she has an unparalleled opportunity to serve a key role in the continued fiscal recovery of our nation.

“As first-generation Greek immigrants, we always emphasized the value of hard work and the importance of family, both of which Sylvia took to heart. Her family, lifelong friends and our close community of Hinton, West Virginia, have provided her with the strength and moral grounding to serve our country ably and honorably. All will continue to be sources of support and key factors in her success in this position of great responsibility.”

Political interest was inspired at a young age.

As an elementary school student, she helped campaign for the father of her best friend in his quest for a seat on the Summers County Commission.

And she once had an interest in Rockefeller’s political future, campaigning, at age 11, as a volunteer in his first bid for the governorship of West Virginia.