|Phil Harmeson provides political analysis of Barack Obama's visit|
Vice President for General Administration Phil Harmeson continued a tradition of providing analysis of various high-profile political happenings in the Red River Valley, North Dakota and the nation when he was tapped by KVLY/KXJB TV to share insight on Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama's visit to Fargo.
Harmeson teamed with veteran television anchorman Daron Selvig to provide live coverage of Obama's speech before about 200 military veterans and more than 1,100 spectators at The Children's Museum at Yunker Farm in north Fargo. The telecast aired during the KX4 News at noon.
Harmeson's relationship with KXJB and KVLY goes back more than 20 years to the 1984 presidential campaign, according to Charley Johnson, KVLY/KXJB general manager.
Harmeson also serves as UND's chief government relations officer. In January, he represented UND at the U.S. Senate committee hearings on the confirmation of UND graduate and former North Dakota Governor Ed Schafer as U.S. Secretary of Agriculture.
Over the years, Harmeson has joined other UND and Grand Forks personalities, including Lloyd Omdahl, UND professor emeritus in political science and a former lieutenant governor of North Dakota, for on-the-spot political commentary on local and national events.
Harmeson has become a familiar face on regional television during election nights for better than two decades.
"I remember being stuck in the rafters of the old Hyslop Sports Center doing political analysis with Phil in 1986 when Ronald Reagan came to Grand Forks," Johnson said.
Harmeson also provided analysis of Obama's first campaign visit to North Dakota during the state Democratic Convention in April at Grand Forks' Alerus Center. That event also was attended by Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., a former challenger for the Democratic presidential nomination.
A fourth generation North Dakotan, Harmeson is the son of a school superintendent. He grew up in Underwood, Surrey, Linton and Velva, and graduated from Grand Forks Central High School.
He earned his undergraduate and master's degrees in Tennessee. He was a superintendent of schools before going to law school at UND. Upon graduation in 1983, he practiced law and was the associate director of UND's Bureau of Governmental Affairs. He became director of the bureau when Omdahl was appointed North Dakota's lieutenant governor and served in that capacity until 1993.
Harmeson was named senior associate to the president by former UND President Charles Kupchella in 2000. He became vice president for general administration in 2007.