May 13, 1999
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WASHINGTON, D.C. ---- CONGRESSMAN FALEOMAVAEGA MOURNS
THE LOSS OF HIS STAFF MEMBER,
MR. JAMES ABEL SOLIAI
Congressman Faleomavaega is deeply saddened to announce the untimely passing of one of his staff members, Mr. James Abel Soliai of Nu'uuli. James passed away on May 10, 1999, at about 2:30a.m. in the LBJ Medical Center ICU.
The Congressman noted, "James was truly one of the rising stars of Samoa's youth. In the period he served in my office, he exemplified excellence in his work and was always willing to help our people whenever they sought assistance. I personally know of James' commitment and devotion to his family, he epitomized the best in Samoa's youth. He will be missed by all of us."
"James' untimely death was a complete surprise and a shock to me. I have always thought of him as a young man in good health, but to be taken to the hospital with a headache and then a day or two later, dead, is simply beyond me. For this reason I have requested Executive Director Taufete'e Faumuina of the LBJ Hospital for a complete investigation as to the health care services that were given to James before this tragic incident," Faleomavaega added.
James was the product of Manulele Elementary School where he completed junior high in 1983. Upon graduating from Tafuna High School in 1987, he joined the U.S. Armed Forces and completed basic training in Fort Benning, Georgia. He was assigned for 3 months to American Samoa and was then transferred to Irvine, California for Active Reserves. He served for 2 years. James then enrolled in Rancho Santiago Community College, Santa Ana, California where he earned an Associate Arts Degree in 1991. Thereafter, he attended the prestigious University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA) graduating in 1994 with a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology.
Following graduation, James remained in California to care for his mother. He found employment with the Samoan Affairs Office in Los Angeles and was keen to work with the Samoan communities. It was James' commitment to his family and devotion to the values instilled in him by his grandparents, the late Rev. Iakopo and Mrs. Purinisese Taufete'e, that he chose to temporarily forego his own future plans to help support his family. James was well- liked and appreciated by many who knew him, particularly his co-workers in the District Office and the numerous constituents he helped.
James was the eldest son of High Talking Chief Laloulu Apelu Soliai and Papali'i Faleteine I. J. Taufete'e of Nu'uuli, he was the third of seven children -- four sisters and two younger brothers. James Abel Soliai was 30-years old.