State Senator Frye-Mueller reacts to her suspension

District 30 state Sen. Julie Frye-Mueller was suspended after an exchange with a Legislative Research Council staffer last week.
Published: Jan. 29, 2023 at 12:03 PM MST
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - State Senator Julie Frye-Mueller made a public statement in response to her suspension from the South Dakota Senate.

On Wednesday, Frye-Mueller, who represents District 30 in the state Senate, was pulled from her committee assignments after an exchange with a female legislative staff member. A day later, the Senate voted to indefinitely suspend Frye-Mueller pending an investigation into an exchange the senator had with a Legislative Research Council staffer.

Frye-Mueller says that the conversation touched on “intimate and personal details regarding maternal issues between two women and discussion on vaccines.”

“And regards to our discussion on vaccines, I stand by my advice to encourage people to become informed and to be able to make the best choice for themselves and their families,” Frye-Mueller said. “However, this does not condone the extreme and egregious actions that the South Dakota State Senate has taken against me; and disfranchising the great people of District 30 and their right to representation in the Senate.”

State Sen. Helene Duhamel, who is one of the nine senators appointed to the “Committee on Discipline and Expulsion” which is tasked with deciding to remove Frye-Muller from the Senate body or not, says the process will be very transparent to the public.

“It’ll be open to the public so people will be able to watch and hear and decide for themselves how egregious or not the accusations is,” Duhamel explained. “People will be a part of this process, we’re very transparent in the legislature.”

The committee will decide on Frye-Mueller’s potential expulsion next week.

The South Dakota Freedom Caucus, made up of members of the right wing of the state Republican Party, came to Frye-Mueller’s defense. In part, their statement read:

“We at the South Dakota Freedom Caucus, like the public, still do not know the charges Senator Julie Frye-Mueller has formally been accused of, nor do we presume to know her guilt or innocence in whatever charge she may face. What we know is that Senator Julie Frye-Mueller has not been formally and publicly served with any written complaint or charge, no evidence of wrongdoing has been publicly made available and no hearing, where such evidence can be examined and Senator Frye-Mueller can face her accuser, has been had.”