Sen. Hatch convinced staffer to stay and it paid off in an unexpected way

May 6, 2022, 11:18 PM | Updated: Jun 10, 2022, 11:05 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — A former staff member’s decision to continue working with Sen. Orrin Hatch paid off in an unexpected way.

It was just one of the many good memories shared during the late senator’s final farewell Friday.

“Orrin was family,” said Matt Whitlock, who worked with Hatch during his final five years in office.

As his former deputy chief of staff, Whitlock could tell you all about the senator’s many bills on the Hill. He says during his last two years, Hatch passed more bills than anyone has done.

But Whitlock said, “it was just as amazing to see those little things behind the scenes that only Orrin could accomplish.”

“He was such a good boss. People wanted to stay with him for a long time. And that’s what made our team so good,” he said. “And it was all driven by Senator Hatch.”

Whitlock learned this from personal experience. At one point, a job opportunity came to Whitlock that would have taken him out of Hatch’s office. So, he talked it over with his boss.

“[Orrin] was trying to give me all the reasons I should stick around. And he got really serious for a second and he said, ‘Matt, if you stay in my office, you’re going to find your wife.’”

Whitlock laughs thinking about it today. But fast forward four months from that talk and Whitlock is seriously dating a member of the senator’s judiciary team. When he told Hatch, he remembers him saying, “Aha! I told you!”

Sure enough, Whitlock would go on to marry Liz. And he says Hatch took the credit.

Today, the Whitlocks are expecting a child. They were able to give the good news to Hatch before he passed away.

“You left the conversation with him feeling like you were his best friend and like he loved you,” Whitlock said of his boss. “And that wasn’t an act because he would keep a list of everything people needed from him, and he would go through and make sure he did that all.”

The days of watching Hatch meet people’s needs may be behind him, but for Whitlock and many others, the countless good memories with their friend and senator are just what they need right now.

“[It was] the most incredible professional experience I could ever have, and so, I’ll always be grateful for it.”

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Sen. Hatch convinced staffer to stay and it paid off in an unexpected way