Patrick Finley, a high school music teacher from New Jersey, has been fighting since 1996 to get the Garden State an official state song. New Jersey is the only state in the country without one, but not for lack of effort. In 1939, 1956, 1972 and 1995, attempts were made, however, they were all unsuccessful. It was in 1995 that Governor Christie Todd Whitman called upon the New Jersey State Council on the Arts (NJCOA) to hold a state song competition. Also a trained composer, Finley wrote the song, “New Jersey, My Home,” and won the NJCOA contest. "When it appeared in the paper, I thought it would be fun and it was. It took about 40 hours to bang it out and the end result was the piece," Finley recently told News 12 New Jersey.
“New Jersey, My Home” was given the top recommendation by the NJCOA, but getting the song through the state legislature proved difficult. Four other songwriters pushed for their compositions to get the honor and were backed by their district’s senator. There was no resolution and the issue was at a standstill.
However in 1997, Finley proposed that New Jersey follow the precedent of several other states and designate a “state children’s song,” a “state popular song,” a “state ballad,” and lastly, his song was proposed as the “state anthem.” Two state senators sponsored the resolution, but eventually the bill expired.
That hasn’t stopped Mr. Finley and he continues to push the bill with the help of New Jersey State Senator Jeff Van Drew. The bill (S1865/A2547) to give the Garden State official songs is now in the Legislature, sponsored by Sen. Van Drew.