AUGUSTA — Maine’s first Republican-majority Legislature in decades convenes this week for the 2011-12 session, beginning with ceremonial swearing-in ceremonies mixed with serious business.

Newly elected House and Senate members will be sworn in Wednesday morning, after two days of preliminary gatherings to acquaint members with their roles for a session that will take a new political direction, and to nominate candidates for attorney general, treasurer and secretary of state.

“The transition from Democratic control of the Legislature to Republican control represents a dramatic change in state government,” Republican Rep. Robert Nutting, the presumptive speaker, said in a radio address leading up to the week’s events. “It means Mainers will see a new philosophy of governing – a pro-growth and pro-freedom approach to get Maine’s economy moving again.”

It will be the first time both the House of Representatives and the Senate will be under GOP control since the 1973-74 session, and the first time the Legislature and governor have been led by Republicans since the 1960s. Republicans now control the House 78-72 and the Senate 20-14, with one independent serving in each chamber.

Republican Gov.-elect Paul LePage is to take his oath on Jan. 5. While his transition team organizes a new administration behind the scenes, the new 125th Legislature kicks into gear in the State House right off.

Today, the two parties’ first-time lawmakers-elect met for orientation sessions. On Tuesday, Republican and Democratic lawmakers will nominate their candidates for the three constitutional officers.

Two Republicans, former state Rep. William Schneider, now an assistant U.S. attorney, and outgoing Sen. Douglas Smith, an attorney from Dover-Foxcroft, are vying for their party’s nomination for attorney general. Sitting Democratic Attorney General Janet Mills said she’s willing to allow her name to be placed in nomination. While her party lacks the numbers to elect her, Mills said she would welcome an opportunity to tell what she’s accomplished in her two years on the job.

The treasurer’s post has attracted two GOP contestants – former gubernatorial candidate Bruce Poliquin and former House GOP leader David Bowles. Current Democratic Treasurer David Lemoine said in a letter to House and Senate leaders he will not be a candidate.

“My plans now are to polish my resume and prepare to provide as smooth a transition as possible for the next treasurer,” said Lemoine, who’s been treasurer for six years.

Former GOP state senator Charles Summers, who’s also run unsuccessfully for Congress, is the lone party choice so far for secretary of state. The Democratic six-year incumbent, Matthew Dunlap, acknowledged the GOP’s numerical edge but said he hadn’t decided whether to have his name placed in nomination.

“Obviously, the numbers are what they are,” Dunlap said.

The attorney general, treasurer, and secretary of state will be elected by the Legislature on Wednesday after the new lawmakers are sworn into office by Gov. John Baldacci. Presiding officers will also be elected in each chamber: Republican Kevin Raye of Perry as Senate president and Nutting in the House. No Democratic nominee was expected in either chamber.

Lawmakers embark on the new session amid some positive fiscal trends, with revenues over the next 2½ years expected to rebound from the two previous recession-choked years. But state officials know that predictions are fluid and subject to changes. GOP leaders will be closely watching those trends just as voters scrutinize their party’s leadership in the State House.

“The new Republican majority in the House and Senate is under no illusions,” said Nutting. “We know that all Mainers have not suddenly fallen in love with the Republican Party. We realize the voters are giving us a test run to see if our ideas can bring Maine back from its economic slump.”