After months of talking, the voters finally had their say Tuesday, and their message is clear. Maine Republicans once again have the ability to set the state’s agenda.

The party comes out of the election with a re-elected governor, firm control of the state Senate and a near majority in the House. Just as they did after the election of 2010, they have the power to take the initiative, and while Democrats can block these efforts if they hold together, the minority party cannot push its ideas through without significant Republican support.

At this point it’s more clear what won’t happen than what will. Accepting federal funding to expand Medicaid eligibility to up to 70,000 state residents appears to be out of the question. The issue dominated the last two years of legislative business and was a centerpiece of Democratic U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud’s campaign for governor. Gov. LePage has labeled the program “medical welfare,” and his victory just about settles the question.

The same is true for an increase in the minimum wage, which passed the Democratically controlled Legislature but was vetoed by LePage. And forget about government-backed alternative energy, or increased state aid to cities and towns.

Which doesn’t mean that the problems that those programs would have addressed have gone away. There are still tens of thousands of Mainers who don’t have health insurance. There are thousands of others who are working full time but live in poverty. As our paper mills close, we have no plan to transition into an economic future that takes advantage of technology and Maine’s natural assets.

Campaign rhetoric aside, our job growth is weak, our wages are too low and after five years of economic growth, we have too many people without enough to eat, a place to live or a legitimate chance to improve themselves.

How can Maine become more prosperous? That’s the challenge for LePage and legislative Republicans. They have a chance to address the economic weaknesses that have prevented Maine from keeping pace with its neighbors. How do they propose to help businesses grow, create jobs and improve people’s lives?

Democrats are not bystanders in this process, and they should not rubber-stamp policies with which they disagree. The margin of victory in the governor’s race was impressive, not overwhelming. We are still a sharply divided state, and Democratic legislators should continue to represent the people who sent them to Augusta.

But this is the Republicans’ turn to propose an agenda, just like the one they had in 2011, after LePage swept in for his first term with majorities in both the House and Senate.

Losing both bodies in 2012 should be a reminder to Republicans that there are consequences to overreach and that turns like these may not last long.