John Shinkle/POLITICO

White House budget director Sylvia Burwell was nominated by President Obama on Friday to replace outgoing Department of Health and Human Services chief Kathleen Sebelius.


WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Barack Obama, in tapping Sylvia Mathews Burwell to lead the Department of Health and Human Services, said her small-town upbringing and managerial experience could help smooth the continued implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

“Sylvia is from a small town, Hinton, W.Va. So she brings the common sense you see in small towns,” Obama said Friday morning. “She brings the values of caring about your neighbor and ordinary folks to some of the biggest and complex challenges of her time.”

Obama introduced Burwell, 48, as his nominee to replace outgoing HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius at an announcement from the White House Rose Garden. The president recognized Sebelius’ service and Burwell’s abilities to become the new face of his massive healthcare overhaul.

“She’s a proven manager who has demonstrated her ability to field great teams, forge strong relationships and deliver excellent results at the highest levels and she’s done it at both the public and private sectors,” Obama said.

Burwell, a Rhodes scholar, served in the Clinton White House and has also worked with the Wal-Mart Foundation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Obama said Friday that during last October’s shutdown of the federal government, Burwell was “a rock, a steady hand on the wheel who helped navigate the country through a very challenging time.”

Burwell only spoke for about 90 seconds during Friday’s nomination announcement. She said she was humbled, honored and excited to build on the achievements of the president and Sebelius.

“If confirmed by the Senate I look forward to carrying on the important work of ensuring that children, family and seniors have the building blocks of healthy and productive lives,” she said.

Burwell will have about five months on the job before the next open enrollment period for the ACA set for Oct. 1.

Former West Virginia Democratic Party Chairman George Carenbauer, speaking Friday on MetroNews “Talkline,” said Burwell was extremely qualified.

“She’s had very broad experience. She’s head of OMB (Office of Management and Budget), which means she knows how the budget works,” Carenbauer said. ” You’ve noticed Sen. (John) McCain has said he thinks she’s a great choice for the position. She worked in the White House for eight years as deputy chief of staff.”

Obama said Burwell’s leadership would be crucial as the Affordable Care Act attempts to take its next step.

“Sylvia is a proven manager and she knows how to deliver results. And she’ll need to be a proven manager because these are tough tasks, big challenges,” he said.

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  • Aaron

    Sarah said below that "Obamacare has helped approximately 125,000 West Virginians get health care coverage. "

    I don't disagree but I wonder, at what cost Sarah?

  • Tim C

    I can hardly wait until they finish off our great healthcare system so all the stupid people can look up in the air and throw their hands up and asked....what happened? This affordable Healthcare is neither healthcare or affordable. Anyone who supports Rahall, Manchin, or the democratic stooge who is our Secretary of State in WV is a very uninformed voter. The truth is the democrats hate the republicans worse than the communist/socialist wave that is destroying our country. May God help us all.

  • Mountain Navy.

    More of the same.

  • What a joke

    We now have a former Wal-Mart executive leading a critical federal agency. What a joke. I really don't care where she is from. She is not qualified!

    • Mountain Navy.

      I thought the leftanistas hated Wal Mart.

      • The bookman

        She was with the Foundation, the charitable arm of Walmart. Although they have a history of using their donations to assuage opposition to expansion of Wal Mart's footprint, I think they'll happily give her the pass.

  • Mason County Contrarian

    Congratulations, Ms. Burwell.

    • Mr.WV


  • EARL

    I am not happy she is the new leader of an all too painful destruction plan on our healthcare system.

    I could give a rat's butt that she is from WV.

    She should have had someone give her a new hairdo. She has that "just laid look" hairstyle that is ok in the bedroom but is not acceptable when giving a public speech.

  • DWL

    Her legacy - she works for a m0r0n that has destroyed the healthcare system. Congratulations! You too are a m0r0n's m0r0n.

  • David

    More proof Joe Manchin is an Obama stooge.

    His finger prints are all over this setup.

    Another example of Manchins contempt for West Virginians.

  • Brian

    Is this an attempt to get WV in the blue column? I think so.

    • Mountain Navy.

      WV was already in Blue. Two democrat senators a democrat governor. Two democrat congressmen. When the governor and we have at least one republican senator I will call this a red state.

    • Roger

      And some people are already taking the bait....

  • wv4evah

    I hope some of the commentators here take a moment to wipe the foam from their mouths.

    Her appointment could be a great thing for West Virginia. Lord knows, it needs all the help it can get.

    • Roger

      And what "help" could this state get from her holding that position?

    • ViennaGuy

      I'm interested to hear how her appointment will be a "great thing" for West Virginia. Can you explain?

      I'm trying to figure out how a budget wonk is the best candidate for running what is essentially a giant welfare agency.

      • What a joke

        Exactly. Couldn't have said it better.

  • Me

    Why not. WV has the most people of any state on Welfare. So she should fit right in to his agenda handing out freebies!

  • whatamoroon

    I don't care where she is from if she's part of O'Bama's radical agenda to shred the US Constitution. I don't like her politics so I don't like her.

  • Damion45

    She will just have a great time when the Senate starts ripping her for why she made the sequestration cuts "as painful as possible". Oh boy!

    • Roger

      I wonder how many people know that she was the one who ordered the shut down of the WWII Memorial to the Veteranss while allowing a immigration rally? The "they hate women" card being played in 3...2...

  • Sarah

    That is awesome! Making West Virginia proud!

    • Roger

      I wouldn't call having your name part of the mess of ObamaCare "making West Virginia proud".

      • Sarah

        Obamacare has helped approximately 125,000 West Virginians get health care coverage.

        In addition to that, we now have a West Virginian in a high ranking position.

        That is definitely making West Virginia very proud!

        • David Kennedy

          55,000 of those to get health care are convicted felons in our the Feds can pay for their bill...this is the reason WV and many other states have lined up behind Obama-care..has nothing to do with helping the public.

          • Jason412

            I was waiting to see that fox "gem" on this board about inmates being insured since I saw them talking about it on the five last week. Mike is right, inmates have always had free medical care, that includes under every Republican and Democratic administration in recent history.

          • Mike

            Let's correct your less-than-fact statement. The shift means the federal government would pay some emergency costs that used to be entirely covered by the states and counties. So you're paying for it either way. Prisoners have been, and will get healthcare paid by someone. Some states line up against Obama (care) because, in their hatred of him, they don't want him to succeed, at the cost of a better life for millions of Americans.

        • Mike

          Excellent post Sarah. Don't let the backwoods, hatred-filled posters and Faux news / Hannity Kool-Aid drinkers bother you. West Virginia has never been better off that they are now with President Obama. They're just too stupid and blinded by hatred to see and know it. He's the one looking out for the seniors, poor, out-of-work and average WV families. Conservatives only want more riches for the rich. Plus they're just down right mean and nasty.

          • Roger

            "You keep your opinion and I'll keep mine"..... says the man who just insulted somebody else for having an opinion that doesn't match his....Sounds very typical tactic to me.

          • Mike

            John, I've lived for more than 50 years in WV. I've worked since I was a teenager and I have a college degree. I'm not rich either. No one's taking your guns, your bible or your money. And I think Obama is the best President we've had in several generations. You keep your opinion, and I'll keep mine. That is America.

          • John

            I've lived in WV from day one of my 49 years. I've worked since I was a teenager and I have a college degree. I'm not rich. I am conservative. I believe the government should have to live within its means and not spend more than it takes in just like I do. I'm all for helping poor people, but I'm through helping lazy people and that is most of the poor. Keep trying to take my guns, my Bible, my money, and my rights and ill show you mean and nasty. Obama is the worst think to happen to these United States and WV in our history.

        • CraigoToo

          Obamacare has not helped anyone get health care coverage. Our children and grandchildren are doing that through Obama's generational theft from his $2 trillion addition (and rising) to our national debt caused by Obamacare alone.

        • ViennaBob

          "We now have a West Virginian in a high ranking position"? Rockefeller and Byrd were in high ranking positions, and neither made me proud to be a West Virginian. But feel free to "gush" if you like. It's your right, until Obama takes that from you too.

        • Roger

          I see somebody has been drinking the kool aid that was given to the sheep...... You know somebody has to pay for those 125k new sign ups.

          • Jason412

            It could be worse. Better to have billions, or trillions, spent on insuring American's than trillions spent in less than 8 years on 2 wars that accomplish nothing. Maybe the next President wont spend massive amounts of money we don't have, but I wouldn't count on it.

          • Sarah

            The kool-aid is all yours to drink. Having people receive health care with no coverage means we've been paying for it all along so the MOST IMPORTANT difference is now they can get PREVENTIVE care.

            That will matter a great deal on lowering costs.

            Regardless, it is still impressive a West Virginia lady is now a cabinet member. Very impressive indeed!

          • DWL

            Roger, you just struck on the perfect solution for the water contamination in Kanawha Co.. Mix it with the m0r0n's Kool-Aid and the leftists with suck the river dry! Problem solved!