Fresh off the election victory that vaulted them into the majority, Minnesota House Republicans are promising a more conciliatory agenda in the upcoming legislative session, mindful that they still face a DFL Senate and newly re-elected DFL Gov. Mark Dayton.

Republican leadership and rank-and-file members say they do not expect to pass a bevy of conservative wish list measures that would face certain death in the Senate. That could cement DFL policy victories of the past two years, including a higher minimum wage; the income tax increase on the rich; legalization of gay marriage, and MNsure, the state health exchange.

Rep. Greg Davids, the GOP's long­est serving member and incoming House Taxes chairman, said DFL "overreach has now ended." But, the Preston Republican added, "I think we have to be realistic and pragmatic, realizing that we have one leg of a three-legged stool."

This new nod to realism contrasts starkly with 2011, when a GOP House and Senate, propelled by the energies of an ascendant Tea Party, passed an aggressive agenda that included deep spending cuts. A government shutdown ensued.

They were mostly thwarted, first by Dayton, and then by voters, who swept them from office and rejected the gay marriage ban and voter ID restrictions Republicans put on the 2012 ballot.

This time around, Republicans — back in the majority after flipping 11 seats in the lower chamber — are taking a different approach. "We realize we have the House. The Senate is DFL. So we're not anticipating changing the whole world or the whole state," said Rep. Joe McDonald, R-Delano.

Leaders say they are still developing more detailed agendas and are being guided by a few overriding principles.

"We will analyze everything to make sure that it's, first of all, the right priorities for Minnesota, and second, that we're spending it in the most efficient and effective way possible," said Rep. Kurt Daudt, who was elected speaker-designate by his caucus earlier this month.

Daudt said the caucus, which comprises 21 new members, will meet in early December to decide on a more concrete agenda.

He sketched out a few areas where Republicans expect to exert influence.

The Republican from Crown, Minn., said the GOP House will look to create a more business-friendly environment. Forbes magazine this week ranked Minnesota the ninth best state in which to do business, and unemployment has dropped from a high of 8.3 percent to 4.1 percent, but Daudt said the economy "flatlined" the past two years. He said that outstate Minnesota, where Republicans flipped 10 seats, has suffered particularly from "underemployment," meaning workers hold jobs below their skill and income level.

Daudt said Republicans want to cut government and regulations where possible, though he didn't specify any programs or regulations.

Transportation will be on the agenda of both parties this year, and Daudt said Republicans will focus on roads and bridges rather than transit. This is part of an overall theme, Daudt said, of better representation of outstate Minnesota.

Republicans have already set about shifting priorities to outstate Minnesota, at least symbolically. More than half of the committee chairs announced Tuesday are from outside the metro area. Next year will also see the return of a stand-alone Agriculture Finance Committee and several committees retooled to serve outstate interests. Republicans created a Greater Minnesota Economic and Workforce Development Committee and they also eliminated the Early Childhood Education Committee.

DFL House leader Paul Thissen said Tuesday that Republicans' new committee structure "doubled down" on "divide-and-conquer" politics.

Daudt, who will come in with less legislative experience than any House speaker since the 1930s, said he'll consider all issues, but was skeptical about a possible gasoline tax increase for roads because the proposal lacks public support. A recent Star Tribune Minnesota Poll showed 51 percent against and 43 percent in favor, even as gas prices have fallen.

In two areas, Daudt resurrected some tough campaign rhetoric that could indicate conflict between the two parties: Education and MNsure.

He was sharply critical of the DFL in those areas, though he promised to work with Democrats to improve both.

Consensus may come more easily on the subject of elderly and long-term care, an issue many rural Republicans ran on and care about because of their communities' aging populations.

Daudt and the Republicans aren't the only elected officials without a settled agenda yet. Dayton, who is meeting with individual legislative leaders beginning this week, said he was taking the Thanksgiving holiday to rest and think about a more concrete agenda, but he sounded optimistic at a news conference this week: "The people of Minnesota have spoken, that's why we have elections, and they've decided they wanted a Republican House and a DFL Senate and DFL governor, and we'll make that work as we need to for the sake of Minnesota. We'll show Washington, D.C., how to do it right."

Patrick Coolican • 651-925-5042