John Phillip Yates is a Republican member of the Georgia House of Representatives, representing the 73rd District since 1993.
Yates was born in Griffin, Georgia.
After attending school in Spalding, Georgia, he attended Georgia State University where he graduated with a BPA.
He is the chairman of the House Defense & Veterans Affairs committee and also serves on the Appropriations, Motor Vehicles, and Legislative & Congressional Reapportionment committees. He is a veteran of World World War II, serving in the Army, having fought in the Battle of the Bulge. After the war, Yates worked for the Ford Motor Company for 35 years.
He was elected to the House of Representatives in 1989, the first Republican to be elected from the 73rd district, in 1988.
After his defeat at the next election, he was re-elected again in 1992. In 2010, Yates generated controversy when he stated at a debate that agents of the United States Border Patrol should be able to shoot and kill people attempting to cross illegally into the United States.
The Anti-Defamation League and Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials were strongly condemning of the remarks, referring to them as "outrageous", "hate speech", and as "grossly offensive".
Yates later defended his comments in an interview with a news station, stating that " have to some way", drawing the comparison to enemies of the country.