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When we look back at this past year, there will be a lot of headlines that we will remember about this year in Alabama.
Obviously, the pandemic and its effect on the state’s citizens is what we will remember most about 2021. The virus took its toll on Alabama with more than 16,000 Alabamians who passed away and many more who suffered from infection with the virus. And state leaders debated on how best to move the state forward while the virus was spreading.
It had a large impact on the state’s economy. Workers dealt with the crushing blows of rising inflation and a higher cost of living, while businesses struggled to keep or hire new employees after months of government benefits disincentivized some people from returning to work.
In addition to the pandemic, we also had soaring numbers of drug overdoses and a sharp spike in crime around the country and our state.
Mother nature struck the state earlier this year in June when Tropical Storm Claudette hit Alabama hard, spinning off tornadoes and resulting in flooding that led to deaths, injuries and property damages.
Yet, despite the difficulties we have faced this past year, Alabama is still attracting new companies to open their doors in the state. And tourists are returning in record numbers to enjoy our natural attractions from the beaches to the mountains.
There are more treatments today that are available to fight COVID-19 and its variants so hopefully we will see a return to pre-pandemic life in the new year. And those that have advocated to defund the police and weaken the criminal justice system are seeing strong push back now from citizens that will carry over into the next year.
Yes, 2021 has been a difficult one in our state, but there are reasons to be hopeful for 2022 as the new year approaches.
Paul DeMarco is a native of Alabama and is a former member of the Alabama House of Representatives.