Column: Alabama leaders must unite to protect state citizens during pandemic

Paul DeMarco.
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The pandemic has changed every American’s life. 
As we focus every day on protecting our families from the virus, we also have seen an outpouring of the American spirit as neighbors take care of each other. 
Yet, it has also laid bare the side of politics which is intertwined with public policy. 
We saw this last week as Alabama state leaders have openly and strongly disagreed on how to address this public health crisis. 
While Governor Kay Kay Ivey has moved more slowly to restrict activities in the state, others leaders have pushed for the Governor to be more deliberate in her actions to contain the spread of the virus. 
Local governments have tightened even more restrictions on what businesses can stay open and which outdoor activities citizens can participate. We have seen even more partisan divide at the federal level in response to the pandemic. 
The public will have plenty of time to look back at who was right and who was wrong when reacting to the health crisis. 
But for now just as Alabama has survived past hurricanes and tornadoes that have devastated our communities, we should all focus together on moving our state successfully towards the future. 
The health and safety of Alabamians must be the first priority of state leaders. 
Paul DeMarco is a former member of the Alabama House of Representatives