During a 1998 confirmation hearing, late Sen. Robert C. Byrd, D-W.Va., said Burwell (then just Sylvia Mathews) "has demonstrated a rare combination of diligence, knowledge and the good, down-to-earth values one acquires growing up in a West Virginia town like Hinton."
"In an agency like OMB, I suspect a person could easily get lost amongst the figures and calculations that go into setting our nation's budget," Byrd said. "But it is important to remember that every budgetary decision affects someone somewhere in some way.
"Having a person like Sylvia Mathews at OMB will ensure that the people are not forgotten," he said.
Burwell did not escape some of the controversies that surrounded the Clinton White House.
According to the Associated Press, she preserved Vince Foster's trash when the White House attorney and friend of the president committed suicide.
But during Senate hearings on the Whitewater scandal, Sen. Alfonse D'Amato, R-N.Y., praised Burwell, saying if all Clinton staff had acted as she did, the hearings might not have been needed.
After leaving the White House, Burwell focused on philanthropic efforts, leading Global Development at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation before being named president of the Wal-Mart Foundation in 2011.
Burwell currently lives near Wal-Mart headquarters in Bentonville, Ark. with her husband Stephen and their two children.
But despite focusing on national and international affairs, Mathews said Burwell still keeps tabs on home.
Mathews said Burwell still calls home every night to check in - something she knows won't change should she get the White House post.
And she hopes her daughter's story will also inspire others to dream big and know that with hard work, they can achieve that dream.
"To me the big thing is about the opportunities, that you can get anywhere from here," Mathews said.
"She's had the privilege of working in the White House and to me that says so much about this country," she said.
"It's still the best country in the world."
Contact writer Jared Hunt at jared.h...@dailymail.com or 304-348-5148.