There is a newly minted crop of Democratic leaders in Augusta.

They are young, progressive and hail primarily from southern Maine.

They include Senate President Justin Alfond, 37, of Portland; Senate Majority Leader Seth Goodall, 34, of Richmond; House Speaker Mark Eves, 35, of Berwick; and House Majority Leader Seth Berry, 44, of Bowdoinham.

Given their backgrounds and politics, some predict these leaders will overreach and overregulate as they congenitally pursue political comeuppance with Gov. Paul LePage and attempt to appease traditional constituencies.

While that decidedly partisan course might be tempting, it’s shortsighted and unwise.

Instead, these new Democratic leaders must embrace an agenda of moderation and bipartisanship.

By doing so, they will discover that this ostensibly unwieldy session is actually fraught with opportunity and that LePage might be their best, most unwitting ally.

The governor is trying to bait Democrats into a legislative session that devolves into brutal partisanship and stagnation. Look no further than his contrived “tracker” indignation last week.

Thus far, the new leaders aren’t taking the bait.

They recognize that pursuing a deeply partisan legislative agenda would not only generate gridlock, it would provide the governor an all-too-convenient political foil for his re-election campaign, casting Democrats as vacuous leaders with a failed policy agenda.

As a result, the Democratic leadership’s watchwords for this session are collaboration, pragmatism and results.

What’s more, Democrats and Republicans need each other. Legislation passed this session with simple Democratic majorities will not make it past LePage’s veto pen.

The Legislature’s only hope of actually governing rests in the ability of the two parties to work together.

If they can stick to their principles, Democratic leaders will deliver — against all odds — a productive legislative session focused on creating jobs and improving Maine’s economy.

But beyond simple short-term legislative necessity, there is a longer term reason for Democrats to strike a collegial and bi-partisan tone.

The newly installed Democratic leaders have the ability to write the next chapter of Maine’s Democratic Party and set its course for the foreseeable future.

If they can create a legislative coalition that actually governs, they can begin a new era of Democratic leadership focused on pragmatic problem solving and creative reforms.

That, more than anything, would position the party for future growth and sustained leadership.

If instead they cling to orthodoxy, pander to traditional constituencies, or simply attempt to undue the last two years of Republican rule, voters will turn them out as quickly as they did Republicans.

Voters aren’t interested in do-overs or partisan fights. They want results. To deliver them, Democratic leaders (and Republicans alike) must be willing to move outside of their traditional ideological comfort zones and get their respective caucuses to follow.

That not only takes strong leadership under the dome, it takes a firm hand with outside interest groups bent on purity.

No one will emerge from this session pure, nor should they.

The only mandate from Maine people is for legislators to get their hands dirty and get things done.

Fortunately, legislative leaders within both parties are already adopting a more collaborative tone.

Rep. Kenneth Fredette, R-Newport, the new House minority leader, struck a magnanimous note when he seconded the nomination of Speaker Eves.

Similarly, several Republicans publicly expressed their disapproval with LePage’s indecorous remarks at Wednesday’s swearing in ceremony.

Those public breaks with the governor’s hyper-partisanship reveal one of the more interesting aspects of the coming legislative session.

For all the power that Democrats possess, a handful of Republican legislators could decide the course of the session by choosing to work collaboratively with Democrats or follow the governor’s lead to partisanship and gridlock.

If the governor continues with his bluster, he may push Republicans into the waiting arms of Democrats, isolating himself through his own rhetoric and behavior.

Assuming all members are present and voting, it only takes five Republicans in the Senate and eight in the House to create veto-proof majorities and render the governor legislatively irrelevant.

Yet, Republicans will still want to preserve a warm-enough relationship with LePage that they can count on his veto as a final check against any pieces of legislation they overwhelmingly oppose.

That means an unavoidably awkward dance between the governor and Republican legislators. The question is how long it lasts.

By working across the aisle, the new group of young Democratic leaders can demonstrate what real maturity and leadership actually look like.

Republicans, for their part, can prove that moderation, civility and compromise still hold sway within their ranks.

What’s certain for both parties is that playing the bully’s game only serves one person: the bully.

Michael Cuzzi is a former campaign aide to President Obama and others. He manages the Portland office for VOX Global, a strategic communications and public affairs firm. He can be reached at:

@CuzzMJ on Twitter

[email protected]