“WASHINGTON — As Michael S. Regan was settling in as North Carolina’s top environmental regulator in a new Democratic administration, a powerful Republican wanted to send a message to the young head of the state’s Department of Environmental Quality.
So in 2017, State Senator Brent Jackson slashed Mr. Regan’s budget.
“Let’s just say that’s how I first got his attention,” Mr. Jackson said. But instead of lashing back, he recalled, Mr. Regan asked for a one-on-one meeting. That discussion led to several others, and eventually extended to Mr. Regan spending time at Mr. Jackson’s family farm.
“I tell him he’s one of my favorite tree-huggers,” Mr. Jackson said. “He and I didn’t see eye to eye and we still don’t see eye to eye, but we have become friends.””