Risa Vetri Ferman, second in command in the Montgomery County District Attorney's Office, has announced her candidacy to succeed her boss, District Attorney Bruce Castor.

Ferman, 41, first assistant district attorney for five years, sent a letter Monday to members of the county Republican Committee, soliciting their support for the party endorsement, which will be awarded March 15. Castor, also a Republican, is running for the Board of County Commissioners in the May 15 primary.

"This month marks the beginning of my 15th year serving in the Montgomery County District Attorney's Office, the most important law enforcement job in the county," Ferman said yesterday. "It needs to be entrusted to the person most qualified. I'm that person."

Ferman received a bachelor's degree in history from the University of Pennsylvania in 1987 and received her law degree from Widener University in 1992. She joined the District Attorney's staff the next year. She is noted for her work in providing legal representation for children in abuse cases.

The Democratic Party is expected to announce a D.A. candidate next week.- Jeff Price