Harvey E. Yates Jr., a native New Mexican, attended public high school in a small town in southeast New Mexico. His father had five sons, and as each reached the age of fourteen that son was put to work on an oil-field drilling rig during weekends and school breaks. Harvey was no exception. Thus, early, he began working in and learning about the oil industry. His early experience also included working as a cowboy, which he enjoyed a good deal more than working on a rig. He graduated from high school in 1960.
He attended the University of Texas in Austin. He initially concentrated on petroleum geology, but after taking numerous geology courses, he switched to a pre-law program. Following college, he worked both in the oil and gas industry and in ranching. However, in 1970 he entered Cornell Law School in Ithaca, New York from which he obtained a JD degree in 1973. He is a member of the bar in the State of New Mexico, though he now is on retired status. As a young man he served six years in the US Army Reserves and National Guard. He has lived in Albuquerque since returning to New Mexico from law school.
Yates is the president of Jalapeno Corporation, an oil and gas producer which participates in drilling ventures, primarily in Texas and New Mexico. While doing that he also has been involved in numerous non-profit activities in New Mexico. For instance, he has served on the board of two private schools in the state.
In 2009 Yates was elected chairman of the State’s Republican Party. He served in that position for approximately two years. In 2009 the state had only three statewide, Republican office-holders -- two Court of Appeals judges and the State Land Commissioner. In the state’s House of Representatives Republicans were down by eleven seats. The election of 2010 changed this circumstance. The party emerged from that election with a Republican Governor and Lieutenant Governor, a Republican Secretary of State and seven additional Republicans in our House of Representatives.
Following the 2010 election Yates withdrew from active party politics, and in 2011 he wrote a short book titled Governor Richardson and Crony Capitalism. He additionally continued to write opinion pieces which appeared in several New Mexico newspapers. In the spring of 2016 Yates was elected as New Mexico’s Republican National Committeeman.
He is married to Janice Bader Yates who recently retired after teaching public school children for thirty-seven years. Together Jan and Harvey reared four children, all of whom today have successful professional careers. In exchange for the great effort put into rearing them, the children have produced six grandchildren for Jan and Harvey.