Henry Burma was sheriff of Butler County from 1923 to 1937. He served four terms in the Iowa House of Representatives, from 1937-1945. During his last term, 1943-1945, he was Speaker of the House. He served on the Iowa Board of Control from 1949-1957. In 1944 he ran in the Republican primary in the race for governor, but was defeated by Robert Blue. After this, Burma returned to farming in Butler County. In his later years, he served as a probation officer in Hancock, Mitchell, Winnebago, and Worth counties before he retired.
Burma died December 8, 1974.